Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that the verdict is in on hydroxychloroquine and it shows the drug is “ineffective” against the novel coronavirus.
As Politico reported, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director didn’t mince words when it came to the subject of the anti-malarial drug that has been a part of the national conversation about possible coronavirus treatments.
“The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy,” he said.
Further, Fauci referenced that the drug carries significant risks.
“There was suspicion of that for a while, but as data comes in, it becomes more clear,” Fauci said, via The Hill.
That makes him the first Trump administration official to conclusively say the drug is ineffective against the coronavirus. What’s more, his statement contradicts the president himself, who has not only been touting the drug since the beginning of the pandemic — at one point calling it a “game-changer” — he’s been prophylactically taking it himself. He also called the research on hospitalized patients “a Trump enemy statement.”
The evidence that hydroxychloroquine and its cousin, chloroquine, are effective against the coronavirus — in some cases when used in combination with an antibiotic — has been limited and largely anecdotal.
The day before Fauci made his determination, the medical journal The Lancet published the results of an observational study involving 96,000 patients that concluded hydroxychloroquine had no effect on COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and that it could actually do harm to COVID-19 patients.
However, the study in The Lancet was not a randomized, controlled clinical trial of the drug, and indeed, as of this writing, there have been no such studies, which the medical community regards as the “gold standard” for determining an experimental treatment’s efficacy.
Other studies of the drug have been stopped after concerns were raised that the drug could actually be sickening the test patients who were taking it.
For example, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, the World Health Organization (WHO) temporarily paused its own hydroxychloroquine study out of “an abundance of caution” after another study appeared to show that patients taking the drug were at an increased risk of dying.
Similarly, France has banned the use of the drug, even in clinical trials.
Fauci, for his part, stopped short of calling for a ban on the drug. However, as The New York Times reported last week, some in the medical community are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke an earlier waiver it had issued allowing hydroxychloroquine to be used off-label to treat COVID-19.