US President Donald Trump has said that US could “retaliate” if India fails to release drug inventory he has termed as a “game-changer” in the battle against coronavirus, a media source reported on Tuesday.
Trump called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, a day following the country’s ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine – a drug it manufactures in bulk.
Local media said that the government was taking into concern Trump’s request and a decision will be expected on Tuesday.
The US President’s comments were not received well in India after he addressed a White House briefing on Monday. Critics complained that Trump’s abrasiveness was undue when Modi had already agreed to help.
The two leaders are on good terms with each other, with Trump having returned from a high-profile trip to India recently.
Hydroxychloroquine, which is commonly used to treat malaria, gave promising yet unreliable results in a brief coronavirus test. While Trump has admitted that the drug is safe, it has significant side-effects.
Hile Trump has said that the medication is free, it has significant side effects. As one of many therapies for Covid-19 patients, China, Europe and South Korea prescribe it, though India itself encourages health-care staff to take the medication routinely as a preventive measure.
China, Europe and South Korea recommend it as one of several treatments for Covid-19 patients, while India itself advocates health-care workers take the drug regularly as a preventive measure.
Pakistan reportedly shipped 300,000 tablets considered “effective against coronavirus” to China in late February. Despite subsequent global acclaim, demand sky-rocked in Pakistan where the drug vanished from the markets.
The Punjab government allowed the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19 who were critically ill.
While the medication has had some success, the results are inconclusive, and deaths have been recorded as a result of patients self-medicating with the anti-malaria medication after Trump’s appreciation for the drug.
Some top scientists, including a member of the White House coronavirus task force and Anthony Fauci, director of infectious diseases, have called reports that the drug may work “unreliable” and that more experimentation must be conducted before it can be endorsed as an effective treatment.