Research done by Chinese health experts in the quest to combat the coronavirus has unearthed something that is bound to bring back memories for some Zimbabweans. Chloroquine a drug that Zimbabweans who live in malaria-prone areas, including myself, are very familiar with has been proven to have positive results. Sadly it is no longer widely available.

In Zimbabwe, it used to be sold under various trade names including Norolon which was by far the most well-known brand name to the extent that any version of the drug was known by this name as is the norm in Zimbabwe. We call all toothpaste Colgate.

Norolon was very cheap and regularly available over the counter. However, it is a dangerous drug and an overdose can be fatal unless treatment is administered. In fact, I know someone who committed suicide using the drug.

Sadly Norolon (chloroquine) is no longer sold in most shops. Over time it became less effective as a malaria treatment and was superseded by other treatments such as Fansider which were deemed much more effective. In fact even malaria drugs are not so widely available these days as except for a few hotspots Malaria as been effectively decimated these days.

Drugs/Treatments that have proven to have some effect on coronavirus

  • Chloroquine- used to be a popular malaria drug
  • Favipiravir-an-antiretroviral used to treat influenza, yellow fever and West Nile fever
  • Remedesivir a new US drug undertrials
  • Plasma from coronavirus patients who have recovered
  • Certain, unspecified Tradition Chinese Medicine concoctions