President Trump is back to advocating for hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 vaccine trials start.
Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug controversially used to fight COVID-19, is back to trending.
President Trump was an early champion of hydroxychloroquine, which was initially thought of as a potential cure for COVID-19 by the French doctor Didier Raoult.
As of the beginning of July, The FDA has continued warning against the use of the drug, which is usually used to treat malaria and rheumatoid arthritis, due to the risk of heart rhythm problems.
The President retweeted a post from Melissa Tate, who describes herself as a “Trumpublican,” which claimed “6000 doctors surveyed across the world all said #Hydroxychloroquine works in COVID patients” and also referred to “Multiple Studies in France.”
FullFact, a fact-checking organization, rejected this survey claim due to inaccuracies in the reporting of this polling.
However, the President continues to advocate for the use of hydroxychloroquine despite safety concerns from the mainstream scientific community.
The tweets also contradict Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Fauci has insisted we are far from the end of this pandemic. Trump and his allies began to attack Fauci earlier this month after Fauci’s blunt messaging about the pandemic seemed to undermine the optimistic stance taken by the president and his administration.
President Trump does have some support in the medical community. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) earlier this month suggested that workers who serve the public such as medics, police, and factory workers should be given hydroxychloroquine as a pre-exposure prophylactic treatment.
Trump’s tweets pointed to research, also cited by the AAPS, which showed that hydroxychloroquine cut the COVID-19 death rate in hospitalized patients by half.
The World Health Organization halted the hydroxychloroquine arm of its SOLIDARITY trial at the beginning of the month, in patients who are already hospitalized.
All of this comes on the eve of third stage vaccine testing by American company Moderna.
According to a Moderna spokesperson, the first large study of the safety and effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States began on Monday morning. A volunteer in Savannah, Ga., received the first shot at 6:45 a.m., Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a news briefing.
The Phase 3 clinical trial, will enroll 30,000 healthy people at about 89 sites around the country this summer.
Half will receive two shots of the vaccine, 28 days apart, and half will receive two shots of a saltwater placebo. Neither the volunteers nor the medical staff giving the injections will know who will get the real vaccine.
American company Pfizer also announced late-stage testing.
President Trump continues to hold COVID-19 briefings.