October 24, 2020

With Minimal Evidence, Trump Asks F.D.A. to Study Malaria Drugs for Coronavirus

President Trump on Thursday exaggerated the potential of drugs available to treat the new coronavirus, including an experimental antiviral treatment and decades-old malaria remedies that hint of promise but so far show limited evidence of healing the sick.

No drug has been approved to treat the new coronavirus, and doctors around the world have been desperately administering an array of medicines in search of something to help patients, especially those who are severely ill.

The malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are among the remedies that have been tried in several countries as the virus has spread around the world, killing at least 9,800.

Doctors in China, South Korea and France have reported that the treatments seem to help. But those efforts have not involved the kind of large, carefully controlled studies that would provide the global medical community the proof that these drugs work on a significant scale.

In a White House briefing Thursday, Mr. Trump said the anti-malaria drugs had shown “tremendous promise.”

“I think it’s going to be very exciting,” he said. “I think it could be a game changer, and maybe not.”

 

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