WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Trump announced to reporters that a malaria drug is to be made available to fight coronavirus.
- The U.S FDA Commissioner is not as hopeful since clinical trials are yet to be conducted on the drug and other similar pills.
- Researchers from China and France had earlier tested the prescribed medicine, but results are inconclusive.
President Trump said that chloroquine had shown promising results when tested as medication for coronavirus.
Chloroquine is a medicine used in preventing and treating malaria, and in some cases, arthritis.
It was during a press briefing on Thursday that Trump announced the drug is to be prescribed immediately to combat the coronavirus, which continues to spread across the country.
The president further noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had done a great job in testing the prescription. The agency also succeeded in completing the trial immediately, which involves an approval procedure that usually takes months.
But only a few moments after Trump made the announcement, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn warned that chloroquine was not yet an official drug for COVID-19 treatment.
Hahn emphasized that the FDA intends to have the chloroquine undergo clinical trial as medication for the coronavirus.
The president commented about the potential treatment during a daily White House presser.
As of late, press conferences have become regular in the White House as COVID-19 continues to spread across several states in the U.S.
It was in the 1940s when chloroquine was first used to cure and prevent malaria, however, it also had different side effects such as diarrhea, headache, anorexia, hair loss, and skin rashes.
Earlier, French scientists have reportedly testing chloroquine to find out if the drug can fight coronavirus. Their conclusions were published in ScienceDirect on Feb. 15.
Other than the French, researchers from China also conducted a trial with chloroquine and related drug hydroxychloroquine. Both tests yielded the same result, and it showed the drug had some potential benefits versus COVID-19.
Both researchers, however, noted that data is lacking, and it’s not typical for drugs to show potential in small groups of subjects but isn’t successful when tested on a larger scale.
During the same White House briefing on Thursday, Trump also noted the drug is powerful, it’s been around for a while now, and its side effects are not life-threatening.
When Hahn was asked about chloroquine, and another possible tested drug, remdesivir’s availability, the commissioner refused to make any assumptions at this time.
Hahn also estimates that a vaccine against coronavirus is yet to be available until next year since its development is still on phase one.
As of Thursday, over 10,400 people have been tested positive, and 150 died of COVID-19 across the U.S. This increase is similar to the abrupt growth identical to France, Italy, and Germany in the past few weeks.
While Americans are responding to social distancing practices differ in every state, Trump gives the impression on Thursday that he is optimistic in ending the outbreak on a pharmaceutical armament.