Vancouver Coastal Health will start treating COVID-19 patients at the Lynn Valley Care Centre with chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug.
The implementation will be on a voluntary basis.
“We will be implementing a new, voluntary medication protocol involving Chloroquine, an antimicrobial with antiviral effects – based on information and experiences from China and Italy,” VCH said in a letter to the families of those affected.
“It will be offered to residents as treatment for confirmed cases, as well as a prophylactic, in smaller dose, for those with symptoms,” VCH said in the letter.
A prophylactic is a medication that prevents a disease from occurring.
Chloroquine is used against malaria and was recently touted by Elon Musk and US President Donald Trump as a possible treatment option for those affected by COVID-19.
On March 19, FDA announced that it was working closely with other government agencies and academic centers to determine if chloroquine could be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms and to reduce viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease.
Studies are underway to determine the efficacy in using chloroquine to treat COVID-19, according to FDA.
Meanwhile, all residents in the Lynn Valley Care Centre are being asked to stay in their rooms, whether symptomatic or not, since the beginning of the outbreak.
In a new order issued today, VCH will prohibit long-term care staff and volunteers from working at more than one health care facility, with the exception of physicians, paramedics and laboratory technicians.
Long-term care facilities will also deny access to all visitors, with the limited exception of the immediate family members and spiritual advisors of residents who are at the end of their lives.
Resident transfers between health care facilities are also prohibited and all group social activities will be cancelled.