Testing for the drug that Donald Trump has touted as an effective treatment for coronavirus and claims to be taking, hydroxychloroquine, has been brought to a halt over fears that it may be dangerous.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug that has made headlines since 19 March, due to the US president’s endorsement of it as a potential treatment for COVID-19, without providing evidence it worked, during his early White House press briefings. Later there was a massive surge in online sales for the drug, while many people that used it fell gravely ill. However, despite this, Trump has since claimed that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine himself.
“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said on 19 May, according to VICE. “For about a week and a half. All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be okay. [One doctor] said out of hundreds of people that he’s treated he hasn’t lost one… If it doesn’t [work] you’re not going to get sick or die.”
However, the WHO has since announced that it will be suspending clinical trials over safety fears. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that, in light of the research, there would be “a temporary pause” on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial, according to Sky News.
This development comes in light of findings from a paper published in The Lancet, which suggests that it may in fact increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Since then, Trump has backtracked and says he is no longer taking hydroxychloroquine. He has now claimed that it was merely a two-week trial period and that he’s okay, despite mounting evidence that it could be dangerous.
“Well, I’ve heard tremendous reports about it, he added. “Frankly, I’ve heard tremendous reports. Many people think it saved their lives. Doctors come out with reports. You had a study in France, you had a study in Italy that were incredible studies.”
However, Trump has failed to acknowledge the mounting evidence that the drug could be dangerous. There has also been a report in the New York Times that Trump has a “small financial interest” with the success of the drug that he touted as a “game changer”.