Hydroxychloroquine: Trump thanks Modi for ‘helping not just India, but humanity'

Trump thanked India for move to supply the drug, saying its help won’t be forgotten

trump modi arvind jain (File) President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi | Arvind Jain

With the medical fraternity racing against time for a panacea for coronavirus, which has infected a whopping 4.3 lakh Americans and claimed over 14,600 lives, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allowing export of Hydroxychloroquine, deemed a possible cure against the disease.

“I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested for the problem... and he was terrific. We will remember it,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus.

In a tweet, hours earlier, Trump praised Modi for his strong leadership and said that India’s help during this crisis will not be forgotten.

“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten!” he said.

 “Thank you, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!” Trump said in a tweet that soon went viral. It was retweeted more than 60,000 times and liked by over two lakh Twitterati.

By Wednesday night, more than 14,600 Americans had lost their lives due to coronavirus and over 4.3 lakh have tested positive for the dreaded disease. Scientists and the medical fraternity are racing against time to find a vaccine and a therapeutic solution to it.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York. Anticipating that it will work, given initial positive results, Trump has bought more than 30 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine for potential treatment of coronavirus patients.

Trump, in a phone call last week, had requested Prime Minister Modi to release the hold on an American order of the malaria drug, of which India is the major producer. India lifted the hold on Tuesday.

India on Monday agreed to lift the ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine to the US. Three Gujarat-based companies would export these tablets to the US, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Tuesday. India manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of Hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.

The country has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) every month, implying 20 crore tablets of 200mg each. And since the drug is also used for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers have good production capacities that can also be ramped up.

Indian Americans have welcomed the decision.

 “President Trump is a graceful and grateful man. He is honest when he says that he will not forget India's gesture. He is a true friend of India,” said Al Mason, a Trump supporter.

 “Thank you President Trump. I think you are well orchestrating the compulsion of history and demand of destiny that we and India be the best of friends, joined at the hip and yet as family, free hearts and minds to love across a spectrum of emotions, but always together,” tweeted Indian American attorney Ravi Batra.