LAHORE:01 April: The Punjab government has stepped up its efforts in making a breakthrough in finding a cure for COVID-19, the mysterious disease which has so far infected more than half a million people and claiming lives of nearly 40,000 in 202 countries and territories around the world. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has vowed to exhaust all available resources for research in this connection. Provincial health minister, Dr Yasmin Rashid has also said that chloroquine phosphate, touted as a potential cure to the novel coronavirus, could be used to treat the infected patients. According to her, a recent research has found out chloroquine, a medicine prescribed for treating malaria, to be ‘very beneficial’ and could be used in treating the coronavirus patients. The drug has been making headlines ever since US President Donald Trump had claimed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the “very powerful” drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19. He claimed the medicine had shown very encouraging results and will be available in the market almost immediately. The statement triggered panic buying across the globe and resultantly created shortage due to hoarding. However, its effectiveness on a COVID-19 patient is ye to be proven. Dr Yasmin said, “We are not only taking steps to curb the spread of coronavirus but all-out efforts are being made to prepare effective medicines to treat the affected patients”. Contagion: Patients, families wary of delay in medical reports She insisted that chloroquine was giving “good results at experimental level”, adding that following more encouraging results, the drug would be purchased. Besides, she mentioned, renowned Pakistani scientist Prof Ataur Rahman is also working on different medicines for the treatment of coronavirus and would soon submit his report to the government in this regard. Chief Minister Buzdar, in a press briefing after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, made it clear that he would not hesitate in exhausting all available resources for the research in helping to end the pandemic. He said experts at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) are working day and night to come up with a cure for the contagious disease. “Pakistan could become the first country to prepare vaccine for coronavirus,” said the chief minister, adding that he wanted Punjab to take the lead in this regard. Dr Javed Akram, the vice-chancellor of UHS, has also said that the Pakistani medical experts have begun research on chloroquine phosphate to treat the coronavirus patients. “There is a strong possibility that chloroquine may be effective in treating COVID-19,”he said.Express Turbuni.