President Donald Trump speaks in the Brady press briefing room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March, 9, 2020, about the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
For the past couple of days, the name of a well-known anti-viral drug used to fight malaria, hydroxychloroquine, has been popping up in the news.
In a new study, hydroxychloroquine, a drug which has been around since the end of World War II, has shown encouraging early results in both preventing and fighting off the coronavirus.
Late this morning, President Trump’s National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted, “President @realDonaldTrump announces HUGE news!! Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, has shown encouraging early results against the #coronavirus. By eliminating red tape, President Trump will be able to make this drug available almost immediately.”
At the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday, President Trump announced to reporters that the drug has now been approved and will be available almost immediately.
He also mentioned two other drugs, Gilead’s Remdesivir and Regeneron’s Kevzar, that may prove to be effective against the coronavirus.
President @realDonaldTrump announces HUGE news‼️
Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, has shown encouraging early results against the #coronavirus.
By eliminating red tape, President Trump will be able to make this drug available almost immediately.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) March 19, 2020
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephan Hahn, said “we are looking at everything that’s coming across our desks as possible treatment options for coronavirus…And again we want to do that in the setting of a clinical trial. A large, pragmatic clinical trial to actually gather that information and answer the question that needs to be asked and answered.”
Hahn indicated that hydroxychlorine would at first be employed on the basis of “compassionate use.” According to the Daily Beast, this “means doctors can ask to use the experimental drug on patients and the FDA can then gather data on its safety and efficacy.”
Hydroxychlorine was also used to fight SARS.
According to the Clinical Trials Arena, Xinhua (China’s state media agency) reported that more than ten hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong province, and Hunan province are currently conducting clinical trials.
Gregory Rigano, an advisor to the Stanford University School of Medicine and co-author of a new study on the effectiveness of anti-viral drug chloroquine in fighting the coronavirus, told Fox:
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are generic drugs traditionally prescribed in tablet form…They’re on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of the most essential medicines and they’re generally accepted as safe. Hydroxychloroquine has an even better safety profile than chloroquine.
What we see in both the South Korean and Chinese guidelines (we don’t have clinical trials from there yet), they both say to use Chloroquine as a treatment.
What I’m here to report and I’m kind of front-running him and I have to apologize, but we are in a state of emergency. (Recording malfunctions.) [An MD and a Ph.D] will be publishing in the next few days, that in a 30 patient controlled clinical study (that means a patient arm that is taking hydroxychloroquine and a patient arm that is taking nothing, a placebo)…Within a matter of six days, the patients taking hydroxychloroquine tested negative for COVID-19. Within that same time, the patients in the control (who took the placebo) tested positive.
This is a well controlled study and what we need to proceed here is a global, well-controlled study to demonstrate its effectiveness so medical doctors are comfortable prescribing this drug worldwide.
…we have strong reason to believe that a preventative dose of hydroxychloroquine is going to prevent the virus from attaching to the body and just get rid of it completely.
This news is encouraging, to say the least.