Hydroxychloroquine was repeatedly touted by President Donald Trump as a wonder drug for the coronavirus pandemic, even though there was no scientific backing to his claim.
Trump said “there are some very strong, powerful signs” the drug would be useful as a COVID-19 treatment.
In early April, Trump effectively prevented Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease researcher, from answering a question about hydroxychloroquine during a White House press briefing. And the president later lashed out at Fauci for saying there wasn’t evidence the drug would help in treating COVID-19 patients.
Now two new studies are the latest in several studies that show the drug does not work against COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine, which is widely used to treat rheumatic diseases and malaria, doesn’t provide any meaningful benefits for those suffering from the coronavirus.
In one of the latest studies researchers in France assessed the effectiveness and safety of hydroxychloroquine compared with standard care in nearly 200 hospitalized adults
Treatment using the drug did not reduce admission to intensive care or death.
Matthieu Mahevas, who led the team of researchers said the findings don’t support the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
The second study at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine also found no benefit to patients treated with the drug.
In promoting the drug, the president didn’t just hold hope that it might be effective, but suggested the FDA already had faith in it.
“I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense,” he said. “The FDA feels good about it. As you know, they’ve approved it, they gave it a rapid approval, and the reason [is] because it’s been out there for a long time, and they know the side effects and they also know the potential.”
But the FDA never approved the drug or any other drugs as a coronavirus treatment.
Fox News hosts also repeatedly gave air play to the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.
Everyone hopes a drug or drugs will be found that are effective during the pandemic. But having the president offer false hope to people without any science to back it up isn’t just irresponsible but can be harmful. In fact people bought up hydroxychloroquine, leading to shortages for those who use and need the drug.
The president has never let science rule his decisions. During a global pandemic, that can be a serious problem.