Donald Trump says he is taking anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine
United States President Donald Trump made a surprising revelation on Monday, saying that he has been taking the anti-malarial drug, Hydroxychloroquine, for a week and a half now. Trump said he hasn't tested positive for coronavirus and hasn't shown symptoms either. His push for a drug, which the Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against, was labeled as reckless behavior. Here are more details.
For Trump, HCQ is revolutionary, and he has been promoting its use, largely disregarding experts' opinions, as the US deals with the pandemic. Doctors believe the decades-old drug doesn't work for coronavirus patients, either for treatment or prevention. Using it could have side-effects including "serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19". Only emergency usage, that too under strict rules, is allowed.
To note, HCQ is produced in abundance in India, but laws made exports cumbersome. Last month, Trump threatened India with retaliation if the drug wasn't sent. Reportedly, the US has purchased nearly 29 million doses and Trump thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi too.
Trump said he spoke to the White House physician before starting the usage. Apparently, it was the President who nudged the doctor into allowing him to take the drug with zinc. "I asked him, 'what do you think?' He said, 'if you'd like it.' I said 'yeah, I'd like it.'," he told reporters. "I'm taking it, Hydroxychloroquine, right now, yeah," he announced.
Downplaying the threat HCQ poses, Trump said he heard many positive stories about the drug. He said a doctor from New York, whom he chose not to identify, confided in Trump that he was giving the drug to hundreds of patients. The doctor told Trump, "I haven't lost one." New York is the worst-affected area as it lost 28,480 people to the virus.
Stressing that trying different medicines isn't the worst thing to do, Trump added, "It seems to have an impact, and maybe it does, maybe it doesn't but if it doesn't, you're not going to get sick or die." He said he would "stop" eventually. "I don't want to be tested but they want to test me. I have shown always negative," he proclaimed.
Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, said Trump was in "very good health" and showed no symptoms. "After numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of Hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks," he said in a statement issued through the White House, late on Monday.
Earlier, a medical document published in New York claimed that a combination of HCQ and the dietary supplement zinc sulfate could "create a more effective treatment" against coronavirus. Zinc sulfate has antiviral properties. But Matthew Heinz, an Arizona doctor who worked with Barack Obama, said, "I cannot stress enough how reckless it is to encourage anybody to take Hydroxychloroquine or any other unproven remedy."