The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning against the use of chloroquine phosphate, a commercially-sold aquarium chemical, as a treatment for the COVID-19 virus.
Chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used as a cleaner in home aquariums, is also being explored in a pharmaceutical capacity as a potential treatment for COVID-19. A CDC release warns that using this drug without a prescription or the supervision of a healthcare provider can cause serious "health consequences, including death".
This warning comes after an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after they both consumed chloroquine phosphate in the form of an aquarium algae treatment. Upon recovery, the woman reported that they ingested the product to prevent infection with COVID-19 after seeing President Donald Trump talk about it in a televised press conference.
The product in the couple's possession was in powder form and in a container labeled “for Ornamental Fish Use Only”.
Chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, these medications are being studied and evaluated as treatment for COVID-19; however, their ability to effectively prevent or treat the infection is still unknown.