President Trump announced on Friday that his enthusiasm for the known drug, antimalarial, was based on his gut instinct.
What We Know:
- The drug antimalarial has been unproven as a coronavirus treatment and Trump had an open disagreement with the nation’s top infectious disease expert at a White House press briefing regarding it.
- Reporters asked Tony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whether the drug hydroxychloroquine was effective at preventing coronavirus, he simply stated: “The answer is no.”
- Trump came back to the microphone and told reporters that “we ought to give it a try”.
- “I think we disagree a little bit,” Trump added. “I feel good about it. That’s all it is, just a feeling, you know, smart guy. I feel good about it.”
- Antimalarial has been used to treat malaria and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It has shown limited efficacy at treating coronavirus, and has not yet been fully tested either as a treatment or preventive medicine in a formal trial. Trump, nonetheless, stated that the White House had ordered millions of doses.
- Fauci acknowledged that the drug was unlikely to cause harmful side effects when used in an effort to treat or prevent coronavirus.
- “What I’m saying is that it might be effective,” Fauci said. But medical professionals’ aim, he said, should focus on “collecting data that will ultimately show that it is truly effective and safe under the conditions of Covid-19”.
When a reporter asked Trump on Friday whether he was selling Americans on an overly optimistic message regarding forthcoming coronavirus treatments, Trump responded: “I say you’re a terrible reporter”.