Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have come under intense scrutiny over the past six months as they have been proposed as treatments for COVID-19. It is widely quoted and stated that the 4-aminoquinolines chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine cause oxidant hemolysis in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, yet there is no convincing evidence for this claim, and there is substantial evidence against it. X-linked G6PD deficiency is the most common human enzymopathy.
G6PD enzyme deficiency is a common enzymatic X-linked disorder. Deficiency of the G6PD enzyme can cause free radical-mediated oxidative damage to red blood cells, leading to premature haemolysis. Treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria with primaquine poses a potential risk of mild to severe acute haemolytic anaemia in G6PD deficient people. In this study, the prevalence and distribution of G6PD mutations were investigated across broad areas of Ethiopia, and tested the association between G6PD genotype and phenotype with the goal to provide additional information relevant to the use of primaquine in malaria treatment.