U.S. President Donald Trump revealed that he started taking the medication hydroxychloroquine prophylactically weeks ago amid the coronavirus pandemic. He shared the detail during a roundtable discussion he had with restaurant executives and industry leaders.
"A lot of good things have come out about [hydroxychloroquine]… a lot of good things have come out. You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers, before you catch it. The frontline workers, many many are taking it. I happen to be taking it," the president stated.
The drug has been used to treat malaria for decades. It became controversial after the president mentioned it several times during his daily coronavirus updates as a viable treatment for the novel coronavirus, although no studies corroborated his advice.
"I'm taking it, hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah."When asked when he began taking it, Trump said it was "a couple of weeks ago." When asked why, he responded, "because I think it's good; I've heard a lot of good stories. And if it's not good, I'll tell you right: I'm not going to get hurt by it. It's been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it. Frontline workers take it. A lot of doctors take it."
The president admitted that he hopes to stop taking the medication prophylactically soon because health officials will come up with something else to treat or prevent the coronavirus. The president said that he asked the White House doctor about taking it as a preventative, and the doctor agreed that he could. The president does not take the antibiotic that often goes along with hydroxychloroquine regularly, but he does take zinc along with it. Trump said he had nothing to lose by taking the medicine.
Trump also told an anecdote of a doctor from the Westchester, New York, area who wrote to him about treating hundreds of his patients with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc. Out of over 300 patients, the doctor claimed that he hadn't lost one patient. The president said that the doctor asked him to continue pushing the drug despite criticism. He indicated that he'd received many such letters from clinicians around the country.
Several recent studies showed that hydroxychloroquine did not have an effect on the number of deaths of those who were hospitalized from COVID-19, and The Washington Post recently declared it "useless" in fighting the virus. However, SciTech Daily reported that The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, began a trial on hydroxychloroquine combined with the antibiotic azithromycin. It will enroll approximately 2,000 adults who are confirmed as infected with the coronavirus and are experiencing fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. The study's goal is to determine if the combination of drugs might prevent hospitalization and death for those who become infected with COVID-19.