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FDA Works to Find Treatments for COVID-19; Alex Azar Quoted

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating medical countermeasures to treat and prevent the disease and surveilling the medical product and food supply chains for potential shortages or disruptions and helping to mitigate impacts, the FDA reported on Friday.

"President Trump's aggressive response and bold actions to keep Americans safe from COVID-19 bought us precious time to advance therapeutics and other necessary tools," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

President Trump has directed the FDA to continue its work with the public and private sector to provide safe and effective drugs to patients, including those infected with COVID-19. The FDA has been working closely with other government agencies and academic centers that have investigated the use of the drug chloroquine to determine whether it can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. 

If the drug is approved, it could potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease. Studies are underway to determine the efficacy in using chloroquine to treat COVID-19.

“Disseminating information about promising off-label uses of drugs we already have, investigating their effectiveness, and pursuing other therapeutics will help give American healthcare providers the tools they need to save lives. As we have always seen when America has faced a serious threat, American industry, academic institutions and government are coming together to deliver us what we need to win," added Azar.

The FDA wants to assure the American public that the agency will continue to work with partners across the U.S. government and regulated industry to expedite the development and availability of critical medical products to prevent and treat the virus, including repurposing existing therapies that may help treat patients with COVID-19.

About FDA

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.