Despite FDA warning, Donald Trump claims to have been taking hydroxychloroquine for past week to prevent against COVID-19

US President Donald Trump, in a surprise announcement, said on Monday he is taking hydroxychloroquine as preventive medicine against the coronavirus despite medical warnings about the use of the malaria drug.

Reuters May 19, 2020 08:34:45 IST
Despite FDA warning, Donald Trump claims to have been taking hydroxychloroquine for past week to prevent against COVID-19

Washington: US President Donald Trump, in a surprise announcement, said on Monday he is taking hydroxychloroquine as preventive medicine against the coronavirus despite medical warnings about the use of the malaria drug.

Trump volunteered the disclosure during a question-and-answer session with reporters at the White House as he met restaurant executives whose businesses are reeling from the impact of the virus.

“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said. “I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day.”

Weeks ago, Trump had promoted the drug as a potential treatment based on a positive report about its use against the virus, but subsequent studies found that it was not helpful. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about its use.

Despite FDA warning Donald Trump claims to have been taking hydroxychloroquine for past week to prevent against COVID19

File photo of US president Donald Trump. AP

In an April 24 statement, the FDA said it was “aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or an older drug, chloroquine.

Trump, 73, who is tested daily for the virus, said he had asked the White House physician if it was OK to take the drug, and the doctor told him: “Well, if you’d like it.”

The president, a well-known germaphobe, has nonetheless refused to wear a protective mask in the West Wing.

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo that Trump was in “very good health” and had been receiving regular COVID-19 testing, which has all been negative since one of his support staff tested positive for the disease two weeks ago.

“After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” Conley said in the memo released by the White House.

In an interview with MSNBC, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said: “What the president did with hydroxychloroquine was reckless, simply reckless.”

“He’s giving people false hope,” Schumer added.

Trump’s disclosure came as Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) reported progress in a potential vaccine for the virus. The only drug that has emerged so far as a potential treatment is Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) remdesivir.

Fox News Channel, immediately after Trump’s remarks, interviewed Dr. Bob Lahita, chairman of medicine at St. Joseph University Hospital in New Jersey, who cautioned people not to take hydroxychloroquine.

“There’s no effect that we have seen and we have treated multiple patients with it,” he said.

Trump said he also took a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic meant to prevent infection. In conjunction with hydroxychloroquine, Trump said he was taking zinc.

“All I can tell you is so far I seem to be OK,” he said.

Updated Date:

also read

Explained: The rules that allowed the FBI to search Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago house
World

Explained: The rules that allowed the FBI to search Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago house

The process of obtaining a search warrant is controlled by a checklist of requirements. In the Donald Trump case, the decision to seek a warrant to search a former president’s property would probably have to have been approved by top officials at the Justice Department

FBI raids Mar-a-Lago: A look at history and controversies of Donald Trump’s ‘Winter White House’
Explainers

FBI raids Mar-a-Lago: A look at history and controversies of Donald Trump’s ‘Winter White House’

Located in Florida’s Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago is a 20-acre, 128-room private members’ club, resort and national historic landmark owned by Donald Trump. It is open to membership for the rich, famous as well as those that wish to be close to the former US president

Ghosts of 6 January are coming home to roost, but bad boy Steve Bannon is already thinking 2024
Opinion

Ghosts of 6 January are coming home to roost, but bad boy Steve Bannon is already thinking 2024

The most dangerous political provocateur in the US is energising Trump’s legions for the Battle of 2024