WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said in a surprising announcement Monday that he is using hydroxychloroquine as a preventative drug against the coronavirus, despite medical warnings about the use of the malaria drug.
“I use hydroxychloroquine,” Trump told reporters. “I’ve been taking it for the past week and a half. A pill every day.”
Trump voluntarily offered the disclosure during a question-and-answer session with reporters when he met restaurant managers whose businesses are shaken by the impact of the virus.
Weeks ago, Trump had promoted the drug as a possible treatment based on a positive report about its use against the virus, but later studies found it to be of no benefit. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about its use.
In a statement dated April 24, the FDA said it is “aware of reports of serious arrhythmias” in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or an older drug, chloroquine.
Trump, 73, who is tested for the virus daily, said he asked the White House doctor if it was okay to take the drug, and the doctor told him, “Well, if you like it . “
The president, a well-known germaphobe, has nevertheless refused to wear a protective mask in the West Wing.
The reveal came when Moderna Inc reported progress in a possible vaccine for the virus. The only drug that has emerged as a potential treatment to date is the Gildes Sciences Inc. inhibitor.
Fox News Channel interviewed Dr. Trump immediately after the comments. Bob Lahita, president of medicine at St. Joseph University Hospital, who warned people not to use hydroxychloroquine.
“There is no effect we’ve seen and we’ve treated multiple patients with it,” he said.
Trump said he also took a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic designed to prevent infection. In combination with hydroxychloroquine, Trump said he used zinc.
“All I can tell you so far is that I seem to be okay,” Trump said.