Reaffirming his support for the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19, US President Donald Trump said on May 18, that he has been taking the drug for over a week to prevent himself from coronavirus infection. During a White House roundtable event, Trump said, “I happen to be taking it” and then added that many other people in the US are consuming the medicine as protection from COVID-19. This comes even though studies have revealed that the hydroxychloroquine is causing more deaths in the coronavirus infected people.
“A lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it,” said the US President
He added, “I’m taking it, hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah. Couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. Cause I think it’s good, I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
For the longest time, the US President has touted the anti-malarial drug and US recently even authorised the emergency use of the same in the most severe patients of the novel coronavirus. Trump had called the drug “game-changer” despite the lack of scientific evidence that the drug often used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus is also beneficial for COVID-19. Trump has not only refused to wear a mask but has been criticised for promoting an unproven treatment of the highly contagious disease. Till now, the coronavirus outbreak in the US has killed 91,539 people and infected 1,540,582.
The US President’s comments came after the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against the malarial drug and cited reports of ‘serious heart rhythm problems’ in coronavirus patients who were injected with its dose. Meanwhile, a study based on medical charts of veterans had revealed that the “primary outcomes” of those treated with hydroxychloroquine had higher death rate or required ventilatory support.
The study by medRxiv that analysed the data received from the confirmed patients of coronavirus until April 11 in all US Veterans Health Administration medical centres. Researchers divided all patients into three categories, the ones who received only hydroxychloroquine (HC), the ones who received hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin (HC+AZ), and the ones who were not exposed to the drug at all (no HC). However, the unprecedented results showed that out of the 368 patients of coronavirus, death rate and the need for ventilation was highest among the ones who had only hydroxychloroquine as their treatment.