Trump Asks F.D.A. to Study Malaria Drugs for Coronavirus- chloroquine to fight the coronavirus
In a White House briefing Thursday, Mr. Trump said the anti-malaria drugs had shown "tremendous promise."
"I think it's going to be very exciting," he said. "I think it could be a game changer, and maybe not."
The drugs' potential has been highlighted and spoken about during broadcasts on Fox News, where hosts like Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro have talked about the possibility of a real treatment.
"They've gone through the approval process," Mr. Trump said of the drugs. "It's been approved, and they did."
The F.D.A. has not approved any drugs for use in the treatment of coronavirus, and the drugs were already available, to treat malaria as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
To date, the F.D.A. has not added the coronavirus to the list of illnesses for which the drugs are specifically approved. Then again, doctors have been free to use both old malaria drugs for any purpose deemed appropriate.
Entrepreneurs Also Like:
You will be "SHOCKED" to know that you can go viral with unlimited blogs on Google!
Prepare to be "SHOCKED" on how to hit the inbox and get strangers to fly into your business!
Do not ignore this "POWERFUL" way to send out unlimited FREE text messages
At the briefing on Thursday, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, who has been the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for only three months, tended to walk back some of the president's more inflated predictions that these drugs might vanquish the virus altogether.
He said Mr. Trump had asked the agency to look into chloroquine to fight the coronavirus, and that it was setting up a large clinical trial to evaluate the drug.
Some hospitals in the United States have already begun using the drugs for coronavirus patients, apparently reasoning that they may help and are unlikely to do harm. They are cheap and relatively safe. Laboratory studies have found that they prevent the coronavirus from invading cells, suggesting that the drugs could help prevent or limit the infection.
Not everyone can take the drugs: They are not safe for people who suffer from heart arrhythmia, or those with impaired kidneys or liver.
The University of Minnesota is conducting a study in which people who live with a coronavirus patient are being given hydroxychloroquine to find out if it can prevent the infection.
Dr. Hahn also said that the agency was allowing sick patients to use remdesivir, the not-yet-approved antiviral drug made by Gilead. This program called " compassionate use" allow patients to take unapproved, experimental drugs if they have no other options.
Remdesivir has already been given to patients, including the first coronavirus patient in the United States, who was treated in Washington State in late January.
"If they work, your numbers are going to come down very rapidly," Mr. Trump said. "So, we'll see what happens, but there's a real chance that they might — they might work."