White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced on Saturday evening that Donald Trump is planning to announce a “major therapeutic breakthrough” for the coronavirus on Sunday night, The Hill reported.
“News conference with President @realDonaldTrump at 6 pm tomorrow concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China Virus,” she tweeted. “Secretary Azar and Dr. Hahn will be in attendance.”
Per The Hill, officials familiar with the situation who spoke to The Washington Post and Bloomberg News reportedly said that Trump’s announcement would center around a blood plasma treatment. The treatment will allegedly involve the collection of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to be given those suffering from the disease.
As reported by UPI, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows teased the announcement of the purported therapeutic treatment during his Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week.
“I think you’re going to hear an announcement later today which really — he had to make sure they felt the heat. If they don’t see the light, they need to feel the heat because the American people are suffering.”
McEnany’s tweet came just hours after Trump controversially took aim at alleged “deep state” agents within the Food and Drug Administration who he claimed are attempting to hinder the development of a vaccine, which he has suggested could be ready before Election Day.
While Trump has promoted the potential of drugs like hydroxychloroquine and pushed for a fast-tracked vaccine, others have been more skeptical. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is America’s leading infectious disease expert, has on many occasions pushed back on claims that the anti-malaria drug’s effectiveness against COVID-19 is supported by research.
But Fauci also said he remains “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine for the virus could be ready by the end of the year, as the president has suggested.
Still, some have expressed worry that Trump would fast-track a vaccine even in the absence of research proving its effectiveness. In response to such concerns, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn assured the development process would not take any potentially dangerous shortcuts.
“All of our decisions will continue to be based on good science and the same careful deliberative processes we have always used when reviewing medical products,” he said.
Per Business Insider, Remdesivir is currently the only drug that has been approved by the FDA for treating coronavirus. Conversely, although hydroxychloroquine showed promise in some studies, the majority of research has shown it to be ineffective for this purpose.