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Health Canada cautions on use of malaria drugs to treat COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Researchers at the Microbiology Research Facility work with coronavirus samples as a trial begins to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Craig Lassig

(Reuters) - Health Canada cautioned on Saturday against the use of malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The Canadian health department said here the two drugs may cause serious side effects, including serious heart rhythm problems. It advised use of the two drugs only if prescribed by a doctor.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also cautioned against the use of malaria drugs in COVID-19 patients on Friday.

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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