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Dr Anthony Fauci, a director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there was “no magic drug for coronavirus right now” after the President spoke out about the malaria drug chloroquine.
Dr Fauci, who is also a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, made the comments on CNN after Mr Trump had said there had been positive results after the drug had been trialled on COVID-19 patients.
Mr Trump said: “It's shown very, very encouraging early results. We're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. It's been approved.”
However Dr Fauci said just a few hours later: “Let me put it into perspective for the viewers… there has been anecdotal non-proven data that it [chloroquine] works… but when you have an uncontrolled trial you can never definitely say that it works.”
He repeated that message this morning when he appeared on Today, saying: “Even though the information is anecdotal that they may work, we need to prove it so people would get the right drug that's safe and effective. “
He added: “What we’re saying is these are drugs that have some suggestion that they may work,” but said controlled trials needed to be done to prove that they were effective.
The University of Minnesota is currently looking for more people who have been in contact with known cases of COVID-19 for a trial to test Hydroxychloroquine to see if it is effective in preventing people from catching the virus.
So far the trial has 150 volunteers but the university is hoping to get 1,500 people involved.
Dr David R Boulware, who is leading the trial, said they do not yet know if it works in an interview with Good Morning America.
He said: “President Trump is very excited about this but there's still a lot of work to be done… it's still important to determine: does the medicine work or does it just work in a test tube?
Dr Fauci said the government was working on more clinical trials of the drug.
He said: “We're going to try to get them available in the context of some sort of a protocol where you just don't distribute drugs willy-nilly.
“You may make it more accessible than you would have previously, but… get some feel for safety and whether it works.
“Today there are no proven safe and effective therapies for the coronavirus.”
While chloroquine has been mainly used to treat malaria it is also used to treat severe arthritis.
Side effects of the drug include irreversible damage to the retina, including trouble focusing, eye swelling or color changes, with long-term use.
It can also trigger vivid, bad dreams and difficulty sleeping.
In addition it can cause your heart to race, cause headaches, fainting, severe dizziness, nausea, a slow heart rate or weak pulse, muscle weakness, numbness and tingly, anxiety and irritability and low blood counts.
Mr Trump said on Thursday the drug was preferable to a new drug because it had been in use for years and was safe.
He added the FDA was approving two drugs “almost immediately” to use in the fight against COVID-19.
So far there have been nearly 10,000 cases of coronavirus in the US, with at least 150 deaths.
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