Apr 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Peter Navarro defends hydroxychloroquine use in heated CNN interview

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday, highlighting "the possibility" that it has therapeutic efficacy.

Why it matters: Navarro did not deny reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan that he got into a heated exchange in the White House Situation Room over the weekend with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about the drug's prospects against the illness.

  • During that meeting, Fauci pushed back against Navarro's claims that the drug shows "clear therapeutic efficacy" against COVID-19.
  • Fauci said that there was only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against the coronavirus.
  • He and other medical experts have said much more data is needed to prove that the drug is effective.

Reality check: Researchers have said studies out of France and China are inadequate because they did not include control groups.

  • During both the Situation Room meeting and the CNN interview, Navarro offered those studies as proof of hydroxychloroquine's potential efficacy.

What he's saying: "The issue wasn't about me offering my medical opinion," Navarro told CNN's John Berman about the weekend Situation Room meeting.

  • "The question was whether we should take the 29 million doses in the FEMA storehouses and surge them into the zones, and it was unanimous in that task force meeting to do so. So, that's the only question I posed," he added.

Our thought bubble, via Swan: Navarro didn’t deny that the conflict happened, and the interview provided a little taste of what happened in the Situation Room. 

  • It highlighted exactly the kinds of arguments that my sources described him making this past weekend.

Go deeper: Pence announces U.S. trial of anti-malaria drug for coronavirus cases

Go deeper

16 hours ago - Health

Hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent coronavirus infections

Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Hydroxychloroquine, a drug that treats malaria and lupus, did not prevent people from getting COVID-19 if they were exposed to the virus, according to data from a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The bottom line: There has been widespread confusion about hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness — President Trump and other conservatives touted the pill with little sound evidence, while other flawed studies suggested it was harmful. But this trial authoritatively says the drug "didn't work" as a preventive medication for this coronavirus, a Vanderbilt University infectious disease doctor told the Washington Post.

17 hours ago - Health

World Health Organization resumes hydroxychloroquine trial

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization will resume its hydroxychloroquine trial after its safety committee found "there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol," WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing Wednesday.

The big picture: The organization temporarily suspended its trial for the antimalarial drug last week after an analysis published in The Lancet showed coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Florida reported on Wednesday its largest number of new novel coronavirus cases in a single day since April 17. 1,317 people tested positive to take the state total to 58,764, per the state's health department. Despite the rise, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said bars and clubs could reopen on Friday.

By the numbers: More than 107,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 479,000 Americans have recovered and over 18 million tests have been conducted.