Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

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technovelist
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Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by technovelist » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:05 am

I have read that there is a shortage of this compound that should be remedied by mid-April.
If it is important to have this compound for the coronavirus outbreak, that's way too late.
We can't wait for an FDA-approved laboratory to fix this shortage or a lot of people are going to die.

Any organic chemists here who can tell us how hard it would be to synthesize it in bulk?
The formula is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine
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Re: Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by Pet Hog » Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:39 am

technovelist wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:05 am
I have read that there is a shortage of this compound that should be remedied by mid-April.
If it is important to have this compound for the coronavirus outbreak, that's way too late.
We can't wait for an FDA-approved laboratory to fix this shortage or a lot of people are going to die.

Any organic chemists here who can tell us how hard it would be to synthesize it in bulk?
The formula is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine
This paper shows how it's made industrially and suggests a new way of producing it using a continuous flow setup. Looks to me like none of the steps is itself difficult, but there are several of them. It's not just a matter of buying a couple of precursors and reacting them together. I imagine a good chemist could make some in less than a week, given a supply of the precursors. Perhaps mid-April is, therefore, a good estimate. The continuous flow setup looks like it speeds things up considerably, but that's more like chemical engineering -- not my field. Perhaps Mountaineer can chime in?
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Re: Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:28 am

Pet Hog wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:39 am
technovelist wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:05 am
I have read that there is a shortage of this compound that should be remedied by mid-April.
If it is important to have this compound for the coronavirus outbreak, that's way too late.
We can't wait for an FDA-approved laboratory to fix this shortage or a lot of people are going to die.

Any organic chemists here who can tell us how hard it would be to synthesize it in bulk?
The formula is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine
This paper shows how it's made industrially and suggests a new way of producing it using a continuous flow setup. Looks to me like none of the steps is itself difficult, but there are several of them. It's not just a matter of buying a couple of precursors and reacting them together. I imagine a good chemist could make some in less than a week, given a supply of the precursors. Perhaps mid-April is, therefore, a good estimate. The continuous flow setup looks like it speeds things up considerably, but that's more like chemical engineering -- not my field. Perhaps Mountaineer can chime in?
In general, most products that are made via several separate batch reactions can be made via continuous processes. Typically the choice of batch vs. continuous is the desired scale and driven by economics. Batch processes are usually more economical on a smaller scale. To produce a given "very large" amount of product continuous processes are typically more economical. For example, think of the differences between making a fine single malt scotch whisky utilizing batch pots and batch stills all in one or two large rooms in a building vs. producing ethanol for use as motor fuel utilizing large equipment with continuous reactors, distillation columns, etc. that are oil refinery size covering several acres.
I marvel at the creation - its beauty, its endurance, its complexity. I marvel that man can make complex things but is incapable of making even the simplest living organism - a blade of grass, a tree, an ant, an amoeba.
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Re: Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by technovelist » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:36 am

Pet Hog wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:39 am
technovelist wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:05 am
I have read that there is a shortage of this compound that should be remedied by mid-April.
If it is important to have this compound for the coronavirus outbreak, that's way too late.
We can't wait for an FDA-approved laboratory to fix this shortage or a lot of people are going to die.

Any organic chemists here who can tell us how hard it would be to synthesize it in bulk?
The formula is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine
This paper shows how it's made industrially and suggests a new way of producing it using a continuous flow setup. Looks to me like none of the steps is itself difficult, but there are several of them. It's not just a matter of buying a couple of precursors and reacting them together. I imagine a good chemist could make some in less than a week, given a supply of the precursors. Perhaps mid-April is, therefore, a good estimate. The continuous flow setup looks like it speeds things up considerably, but that's more like chemical engineering -- not my field. Perhaps Mountaineer can chime in?
Ok, but the problem is that we can't wait that long if we don't want a tremendous death toll.
Assuming it really does help, a crash program to get it synthesized starting TODAY could save thousands of lives directly.
Even more important, the health care system might survive.
Thanks for the info. I'm going to see if I can get it to Trump immediately.
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Re: Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:42 am

technovelist wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:36 am
I'm going to see if I can get it to Trump immediately.
That line got my interest. Can you elaborate?
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Re: Synthesis of hydroxychloroquine

Post by technovelist » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:18 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:42 am
technovelist wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:36 am
I'm going to see if I can get it to Trump immediately.
That line got my interest. Can you elaborate?
I know someone slightly (call him R) whom I'm pretty sure could get Trump's attention on this matter if he agrees it is urgent.
I have a close friend who knows R very well and might be able to convince him it is urgent.
Lives may be at stake.
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