President Donald Trump is doubling down on his claims that an anti-malaria medication can treat COVID-19 symptoms despite the lack of evidence showing the drug could have an impact.
“What do you have to lose?” Trump said in a press briefing Sunday. “It’s been out there for a long time. What do you have to lose? I hope they use it.”
“I may take it. I have to ask my doctors,” he added.
According to Yahoo News, clinical trials were launched for hydroxychloroquine, but there is no definitive study showing it prevents or alleviates COVID-19 symptoms. The drug is mostly used for those dealing with malaria or lupus. Medical experts at the Mayo Clinic have issued a warning last week saying the drug could cause sudden cardiac death.
“The efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients has to date not been proved,” a spokesman for the European Commission said.
However, the FDA has approved the drug as an emergency treatment.
The drug started being touted because once a patient goes on a ventilator the chances for survival diminish. As a result, doctors are trying to find drug therapies to relieve the symptoms.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has warned against taking the drug, contradicting Trump. Fauci said Sunday that scientists do not have “data to say anything definitively” concerning the drug’s benefits.
Scientists from the University of Minnesota are currently leading two clinical trials to see if the drug can prevent someone from getting the virus and if it could lessen COVID-19 symptoms in patients that are already infected. However, they say there will not be any data to prove either side of the debate for at least a month.
Raeburn Fairweather, a 47-year-old respiratory therapist in Brooklyn said he resorted to using alternative [and undocumented] Jamaican remedies made with turmeric, garlic, and ginger to help him recover from the novel virus. Fairweather tested positive for the virus on March 18.
The virus has significantly affected millions across the world and the impact is significant in the U.S. The White House estimated as many as 240,000 people may succumb to the coronavirus and the Federal Reserve estimates 47 million citizens could be unemployed by the time quarantine restrictions are completely lifted.