The pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been difficult to manage globally due to the absence of proven effective therapeutic options. While there are numerous studies that are currently underway to develop new medications or vaccines to cure the deadly disease and to prevent its spread, the time needed to accomplish this is long. In view of the urgency of this situation, there is a need to also consider the possibility of identifying a cure using the existing medications with known safety and toxicity profiles. So there has been a renewed interest in studying the therapeutic effect of available drugs with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity, like Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Chloroquine (CQ), which have been used successfully for a long time to treat malaria and rheumatic disorders, on the pathogenesis of COVID-19, with the hope of using these well studied drugs as potential treatments of this disease. A literature review was conducted using Pubmed/MEDLINE, Cochrane, EMBASE electronic databases, and clinical medicine preprint repository medRxiv, along with review of clinical trial data for use of CQ and HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19 to compile the results of clinical and pre-clinical studies reported. This review is intended to provide a comprehensive summary of the currently available evidence-based information regarding the pharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties of CQ and HCQ and their safety and effectiveness in reducing the severe inflammation associated with coronavirus infections, as well as what we have learnt about their adverse effects when used as an anti-viral drug, in order to provide an informed understanding of their current clinical uses and potential for their safe and effective use in future treatment.
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