LETTER TO AN OLD FRIEND: ‘Chloro’ for ‘Coro’


Hello, not goodbye, is the saddest word (sorry, Céline) — and especially when you have to say it to the one person whose back you were so glad to see.

Alas! Here we are again, old friend Chloroquine, long after you lost pride of place in our world. No need coating a bitter truth, mate: we haven’t missed you, even if your anti-malarial successors — Amodiaquine et al. — taste little better. For many of us, you remain the reason why nearly all medications look tainted in our eyes and feel horrible in our mouths. And that’s why when, not many years ago, you were declared ineffective against malaria in these parts and ushered into retirement, all — young and old, sick or not — cheered joyfully and willed you out.

Image result for coronavirus chloroquine

Apparently, though, you never went anywhere — not too far, anyway. We hear you have continued to function even as an 86-year-old, quietly battling the likes of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have cared about whatever you were up to, but now we’ve been forced to pay attention. Even worse, we might actually have to engage you — again.

As you’re probably aware, the world is struggling with a plague, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), that has left many stricken and thousands dead. An outbreak in a Chinese port city has now spilled all over the planet and, currently, Ghana is also grappling with it. The search for a remedy is on and, thankfully, it appears you (along with hydroxychloroquine, your sibling) are one of the few flickering prospects thus far in that quest — which is why we’re at your door and on our knees, pleading that you overlook all that’s happened in the past and do your best if called upon.

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While at it, we know — of course — that you’d do your worst, too, but such is the desperation characterizing these times that no measure is too tough to resort to, once approved. Between you and I, we’d rather not have this unpleasant embrace; still, between you and death, we’d choose you anyday (don’t feel too smug, bro; it’s a photo-finish).

And so we plead with you — yes you, so notorious for killing our appetites and triggering our worst allergies for days — to come to our aid for auld lang syne, if for nothing else. Your return to relevance would once more make you a hero, as you’ve always wished — unlikely and unloved, but a hero regardless — and then you can promptly return to being zero, as we’ve always wished.

Yours desperately,
A World Sick and Dying.

NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH

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