Mar 21, 2020 - Health

Trump touts drugs not yet approved by FDA for treating coronavirus

In this image, Trump stands in the White House briefing room

Trump briefs the press on March 20. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Saturday that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, and azithromycin, an antibiotic, "have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine" when taken together — as novel coronavirus cases surge in the U.S.

Reality check, via Axios' Sam Baker: Hydroxychloroquine has shown some promise against the coronavirus in a very small French study, but it is not federally approved to treat the COVID-19 because no official studies have been conducted to determine whether it's both safe and effective for those sick patients.

  • "What I said is that we don’t have definitive proof that it works," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday on Fox, in regards to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. "So what we need to do, since there are suggestions anecdotally that it works, try to get it available, but to do it in the context of a protocol where we accomplish two things."
  • "We make something that’s maybe hope and promising for someone, at the same time we determine whether or not it’s safe and whether or not it actually does work," Fauci added.

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