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India Fast-tracks Anti-malarial Drug Supply to UAE for Coronavirus Treatment After Govt's Request

Image for representational purposes. (Reuters)

Image for representational purposes. (Reuters)

"As the drug is on the restricted list, we are obviously giving exception to the UAE, given the friendly relations between the two countries," Khaleej Times quoted India's Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor as saying.

New Delhi: India is fast-tracking procedures to supply hydroxychloroquine, a drug considered to be efficient in fighting the coronavirus, to the UAE after a request from the country's government, media reports here quoted the Indian envoy as saying.

India's Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor said there is a huge demand for the anti-malarial drug from many countries and India is considering it on a case to case basis.

"As the drug is on the restricted list, we are obviously giving exception to the UAE, given the friendly relations between the two countries," Khaleej Times quoted Kapoor as saying.

The global demand for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) manufactured by India got a boost after some studies indicated that the drug, when paired with azithromycin, helped clear patients of the virus at a much faster rate than seen usually.

There was a request from the government of the UAE to help out with the supply of HCQ, the Gulf News quoted Kapoor as saying.

Kapoor said a few companies in the UAE requested the government to import the drug to the country. "We received a note verbale from the UAE government also seeking support for the supply through those companies, he said.

"Whatever requests were made, we made sure that they reached the right authorities in the right format since this is a restricted medicine, Kapoor said.

He said India is permitting the export of HCQ on a case-by-case basis on the request from governments of friendly countries. With the UAE government backing up the local companies' request for import for the medicine, he said, India is fast-tracking the procedures.

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday announced 432 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 5,365.

The country has reported 33 deaths, including five expats of different nationalities.

In a humanitarian gesture, India on Wednesday gifted life-saving drugs, including Hydroxychloroquine tablets, to Mauritius and Seychelles to help them deal with the coronavirus pandemic that has infected 2 million people worldwide.

Mauritius Vice Prime Minister Leela Devi Luchoomun Dookun received the consignment of half a million Hydroxychloroquine tablets that arrived here on Wednesday evening through a special Air India cargo flight from Delhi, the Indian High Commission in Port Louis said in a statement.

Mauritius is one of the first countries to receive supplies of this medicine after a special exemption was granted for a few countries.

first published:April 16, 2020, 15:06 IST