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President Trump said at a roundtable Monday that he's been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement for "about a week and a half" as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The FDA issued a warning last month that the unproven drug should only be taken in hospitals because of the risk of heart complications. There's no substantiated evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19 infections.

The big picture: Rick Bright, the former head of a key government vaccine agency, testified last week that he believes he was ousted from his position because of his resistance to promoting hydroxychloroquine, which has long been touted by Trump and his allies in conservative media.

  • Bright said that he supported the use of hydroxychloroquine under the supervision of a physician. But when HHS leadership issued a directive to make the drug more broadly available, Bright says he resisted: "I did not think it was the proper or safe way to evaluate that drug in the context of this outbreak."
  • Hydroxychloroquine is currently being studied as a potential preventative for health care workers with high risk of exposure to coronavirus patients.

What he's saying:

"I asked [the White House doctor], what do you think? He said if you'd like it. I said yeah, I'd like it. A lot of front-line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine. I don't take it because — hey, people said oh maybe he owns the company. No, I don't own the company. I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don't want them being sick. And there is a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on. But you look at front-line workers. You look at doctors and nurses. A lot of them are taking it. As a preventative."

DISCLAIMER: READ THE FDA's WARNINGS ABOUT HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - Health

Carson: It would "behoove" us to move forward with COVID-19 vaccine and treatment testing

Screenshot: Axios Events

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson says "this is not necessarily the time to take everything slowly" when it comes to the Trump administration's approach to getting vaccines and treatments to the public.

Why it matters: Carson's comments, made Wednesday during an Axios virtual event, came days after the Food and Drug Administration announced an emergency use authorization (EUA) for treating the coronavirus with convalescent plasma. President Trump accused the agency of slow-walking the development and approval of vaccines and therapeutics to hurt him politically.

Coronavirus cases fell by 15% this week

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

New coronavirus infections fell by almost 15% over the past week, continuing a steady downward trend.

Why it matters: The standard caveats still apply — progress can always fall apart, the U.S. is climbing down from a very high number of cases, and this is far from over. But this is undeniably good news. Things are getting better.

FDA authorizes Abbott's $5 rapid COVID-19 test

Results from the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card test will be available in roughly 15 minutes. Photo: Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories.

Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday it received emergency use authorization (EAU) from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 test that works without lab equipment.

The big picture: Abbott said it will ramp up production of its "highly portable," $5 tests to 50 million by the beginning of October.