Washington DC, May 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States revealed on Monday that he has been taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine for “a couple of weeks,” because he has heard “a lot of good stories” about its effects against COVID-19.
The revelation comes despite official health warnings against the drug being used for the novel coronavirus.
“I am taking it – hydroxychloroquine. A couple of weeks ago I started taking it because I think it’s good, I’ve heard a lot of good stories… I’m not going to get hurt by it,” Donald Trump told reporters at the end of a White House event with representatives from the catering sector.
“I take a pill every day,” he added, after clarifying that he takes both hydroxychloroquine and zinc.
For more than a month, Trump has been extolling the virtues of hydroxychloroquine, a medicine used against malaria, lupus and severe arthritis, which has been prescribed for many COVID-19 patients around the world, but which still forms part of clinical trials.
The president explained that he started taking it because he wanted to, and because he heard “good things” about the medication and asked his doctor at the White House what he thought, and he had said that “if you’d like it” he could prescribe it.
Trump stressed that he has “zero symptoms” of coronavirus and that the test is done “every couple of days.”
“All I can tell you is so far I seem to be okay… I have taken it for a week and a half now and I’m still here,” he added.
The US Food and Drug Administration warned in late April against using hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital or clinical trial, due to the risk of developing serious heart rhythm problems. It added that hydroxychloroquine has “not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.”
Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence that hydroxychloroquine works as a prophylactic to prevent COVID-19, according to a study published in late April in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
Trump’s insistence on promoting hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus has fueled tensions in his government. Vaccine expert Rick Bright claimed this month that he was fired from his job at the Health Department for political reasons, after resisting Trump’s push to use hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.
In addition, Trump’s praise of the drug has caused arthritis and lupus patients difficulties in accessing hydroxychloroquine due to shortages, and in March, a man died in Arizona after ingesting a form of chloroquine that was not designed for human consumption, but for cleaning aquariums.
The president, who also generated controversy in April by suggesting that injecting disinfectant could be a treatment against coronavirus, insisted that he has not had contact with COVID-19 patients.
However, at least two White House officials have tested positive in recent weeks. EFE-EPA