Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to promote two anti-malarial drugs as “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” but some medical experts are warning that the president’s notions are premature.
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents) be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!” the president wrote.
His message was met with incredulity, with social media followers pointing out that the president has also claimed in the past that windmills cause cancer – an assertion that hasn’t been proven true.
Trump repeatedly promoted the drugs this week, saying he believed that they could be the solution to the growing coronavirus crisis. During a press conference on Friday, the president said that while he didn’t have extensive evidence to support the drugs, he had a good feeling about them.
Trump’s message contradicts that from his director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who spoke to reporters about the drugs, urging caution. He said that all evidence to support their efficacy was anecdotal, and that further trials were necessary.
Reporters asked Fauci to respond to Trump’s claims on Friday that the drug showed promise, to which he responded in the negative.
“The information that you’re referring to specifically is antecdotal,” he said on Friday, according to ABC News. “It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”
Trump interrupted Fauci’s statement to add “we’ll see. We’re going to know soon.”
He went on to say that “we have millions of units ordered.”
Hydroxychloroquine is approved to treat malaria and has been in use since 1944. While there has ben some information that it may have helped a few patients outside of the U.S. who are
Dr. Fauci has been one of the faces of the coronavirus task force, making appearances on morning shows and frequently speaking to the press about the government’s response to the pandemic. Yesterday, he cautioned Americans that they would likely need to stay at home for several more weeks to help slow the spread of the disease.
During the same conference, Fauci repeated his calls for clinical testing of the drugs that Trump has proclaimed to be part of the solution to the outbreak.