Central Florida pharmacy orders drug that could possibly treat coronavirus

The crisis continues. The number of coronavirus cases, deaths, and tests are up. But President Donald Trump has announced a possible ray of hope. 

"It's shown encouraging -- very, very encouraging early results and we're going to make that drug available almost immediately," President Trump said.
 
An old drug may get a new use in the battle against COVID-19. The drug is called chloroquine. It would not prevent coronavirus but it could treat the symptoms. 

The FDA says it is working fast to make sure it is safe, but it has not been approved for coronavirus yet.

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Stepping into Taylor's Pharmacy, which has been open for 72 years in Winter Park, is like stepping into the past. Their research may be pushing us toward the future and the pharmacy even also has a lab with a handful of researchers a few miles away.

"We mix medications. We make our own formulas," the pharmacy told FOX 35 News. That includes new medications and treatments that may possibly help with COVID-19. 

Pharmacist Mike Johnson ordered a half kilo of chloroquine. Dosing still needs to be researched but a half kilo could reportedly treat about 100 to 125 people.

"It’s an older drug. It’s been around for a long, long time. It has been shown in some research to slow down the replication of the virus," Johnson said. Chloroquine has been used to treat malaria in the past and Johnson said that it is still too early to tell if it'll help in treating coronavirus. "There are a few recommended doses right now but there’s a couple different of them out there. Which one is best, no one knows."

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That half-kilo is all he could get since he said that it is being distributed evenly among other pharmacies across the country, but Johnson wanted to make sure he and his researchers had it on hand to be used in case the FDA does approve it for coronavirus treatment.

Johnson said that he has "never seen anything like this. It’s unnerving but it also feels rewarding because we’re able to use basically everything we’ve taught, everything we’ve learned." 

When the drug might be available for COVID-19 is still unclear.

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