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COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a surge in repurposing of drugs, either for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or for the pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis. Many drugs are being tried, but 4-aminoquinolines (chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine) have attracted significant attraction and generated the maximum controversy. There is no domain left, be it political, social or scientific, where usage of 4-aminoquinolines for COVID-19 was undisputed. So far, the benevolent and propitious story of hydroxychloroquine is tainted by political controversies, death threats to researchers and scientific lapses.1–4 A significant part of this story appears to be fuelled with the fear generated by the current pandemic, lay media perusal, amplification by social media and political pressure rather than true scientific approach.4 5 At the ground level, self-medication and stockpiling are resulting in unavailability for those who really need it,6 7and millions of people are exposed to its rare but potentially serious adverse effects including cardiac arrhythmias. As healthcare providers and as a scientific community at large, our fundamentals first guide us to do no harm to the people whose healthcare is in our hands. The dire need to quickly develop, assess and adopt medications during a public heath crisis can go off-centre at times. There has been an enormous discussion over …
Contributors Both authors contributed equally in conceptualisation, research and final drafting of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.