On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health received a large consignment of essential medicines from the Indian High Commission.
They included antiretrovirals and other essential drugs as well as hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial.
This may be viewed as just another consignment for the ministry. However, the hydroxychloroquine makes it noteworthy.
India has been dubbed "the pharmacy of the world” because of its ability to supply the world with drugs. The country has drawn praise for its decision to export pharmaceuticals to some African and Latin American countries on humanitarian grounds.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however, India announced that it would stop exporting key drugs.
One of the drugs the South Asian country had said it would not export was hydroxychloroquine.
United States President Donald Trump had touted it as a Covid-19 treatment and the world needed it. He said on Twitter that hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin “taken together” could be “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine”. He urged that they “be put in use IMMEDIATELY”.
The American president was basing his optimism mostly on a small study from France that, combined with laboratory findings, has prompted ongoing trials in France and the US.
The French study reported that 70 percent of hydroxychloroquine-treated patients were negative for the virus at day six, as were all six patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.