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Chemicals to protect from coronavirus

Banner Health experts are warning the public against using "inappropriate medications" after a Valley man died and his wife was hospitalized after taking chemicals they believed could help protect against coronavirus.

On Sunday, the man and his wife, both in their 60s, took Phoenix News chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used to clean fish tanks, because it kills algae. It has also been used to treat malaria.

Within 30 minutes the two experienced severe side effects that required admittance to a nearby Banner Health facility. The man died and his wife remains under critical care, according to a hospital spokesperson.

A family friend reached out to ABC15 and identified the couple as Gary and Wanda. The family has asked that their last name not be included, due to privacy concerns.

Wanda, who was able to throw up the chemicals and did not have as severe a cardiac reaction, is going to survive.

"They were inseparable," said Keriann Cerski Furreboe, a close friend of the couple, who had been married for 20 years and moved to the Valley from Iowa in 2012.

Gary and Wanda were also scared of COVID-19. "When she called me last night, she was obviously in shock," said Cersei Furreboe, recounting what Wanda told her.

"She said, 'We thought we were going to get sick, so we took something. We started to get weird reactions so I called the poison control centre and they took us to the hospital and his heart stopped.'"

Wanda told her friends the couple decided to mix the powder with a drink because they had heard the president and other officials touting the drug chloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

"It's shown very encouragingly early results. And we're going Press Release Distribution Services In Phoenix to be able to make that drug available almost immediately" said President Trump at a recent White House briefing.

President Trump declared chloroquine a “game-changer” in the effort to develop a coronavirus treatment and pre-maturely announced the drug had been “approved."

"It’s a very powerful and useful drug," said Dr Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. "Every single medication has a side effect. Unfortunately, we predicted this."

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