Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Donald Trump and an Anti- Malaria Drug.
President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is taking the drug hydroxychloroquine as protection against the novel coronavirus, despite the lack of evidence that it prevents individuals from contracting the illness and warnings from physicians that it can have deadly side effects. According to The Washington Post;
President Trump said he began taking the anti malaria drug about 10 days ago after he told the White House physician he would like to start taking hydroxychloroquine. That timing would put the start of Trump’s drug regimen at roughly the same time as news broke that two White House staffers had tested positive for the virus, and the White House later released a letter from Trump’s in-house doctor that linked his drug regimen to one of those cases.
“After numerous discussions he and I had for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” White House physician Sean P. Conley wrote. He said Trump continues to test negative for the virus.
In announcing his decision to take the controversial drug, Trump offered only anecdotal testimonials as evidence that it works in any form as a treatment or preventive for the virus that has killed nearly 90,000 Americans and devastated the economy.
Clinical trials, academic research and scientific analysis indicate that the danger of the drug is a significantly increased risk of death for certain patients, particularly those with heart problems.
The Food and Drug Administration, in a safety alert issued April 24, warned that it had received reports that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine could have serious side effects and that the drug should be taken under the close supervision of a doctor in a hospital setting or a clinical trial.
Trump’s decision to take the drug is the latest example of him following his impulses rather than the advice of doctors and public health experts during the pandemic. He has eschewed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear a face covering when social distancing is not possible. He also has questioned the benefits of widespread testing, which public health officials have called the key to mitigating the outbreak and allowing for the safe reopening of the economy.
But Trump’s support of hydroxychloroquine has perhaps been the area where he has most clearly rejected the advice of the health profession, including his own officials, while making clear he believes more in the anecdotal reports he has received from friends and supporters.
“Here we go, you ready? Here’s my evidence. I get a lot of positive calls about it,” Trump said Monday. “The only negative I’ve heard was the study where they gave it was it the VA with, you know, people that aren’t big Trump fans gave it.”
In late April, researchers posted an analysis of the medical records of 368 male patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide and found that the rates of death in those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin were higher than in those who did not receive the drugs. While the results were from a retrospective look at outcomes rather than a randomized clinical trial, they provided some of the most detailed information available about the use of the medications on covid-19 patients.
The study found 27 percent of patients who received hydroxychloroquine died and 22 percent of those treated with the combination therapy died. That compares with 11.4 percent for those who did not receive either drug.
There is only scant evidence that hydroxychloroquine can be useful in treating covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Humans have no natural immunity and there is not yet a vaccine, so much hope has been placed on an effective treatment to lessen symptoms and save lives.
One drug, remdesivir, has shown some early promise, and Trump has welcomed its potential use outside a clinical trial. But he has never entirely dropped his promotion of hydroxychloroquine, which has backers among Trump intimates including his personal attorney, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Trump recently told a group of visitors to the Oval Office that he speaks with a number of private doctors in New York regularly about the virus and treatments, said a person who heard the comments and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the conversation.