During a press conference on Monday, president Donald Trump told reporters he’s been taking a malaria drug. Hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has pushed as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients, has not proven effective in fighting the disease’s symptoms. However, Trump told reporters “I take it. All I can tell you is, so far, I feel okay.”
He clarified that he has only taken an initial dose, so far.
“It seems to have an impact,” Trump told reporters. “Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.”
Weeks ago, the New York Times reported that the Trump family has financial ties to the maker of hydroxychloroquine. Some pundits speculate this could explain why Trump is so adamant about the drug’s effects. However, Trump denied those claims during the press conference.
Why Would He Do This?
Trump is known to be a germaphobe. He rarely shook hands even before the pandemic. He has explained his love of fast food restaurants by pointing to their standards for cleanliness. As such, it’s no surprise that he’s taking extra precautions with COVID-19. He’s 73 years old, which puts him squarely in the risk group for the coronavirus.
However, his statements to the press Monday seem to indicate he’s taking the malaria drug as a preventative measure.
In the rare cases where doctors are prescribing the drug to fight the novel coronavirus, they only do so if they are treating a patient who tested positive. There has been no medical evidence showing the drug has preventative properties.
Potential Health Complications
Last month, the FDA issued a warning regarding hydroxychloroquine. The agency stated that the drug can cause heart issues in some patients. These issues typically involve interruption with heart rhythms, which can be exacerbated by medication like azithromycin.
In the warning, the FDA wrote, “We would like to remind healthcare professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.”
According to the president, he has been taking the drug while under the observation of the White House medical staff.
As for treatments for COVID that have been shown to reduce symptoms, there is some good news. Experts are testing Remdesivir, a drug made by Gilead Labs, for its use in treating COVID symptoms. In clinical trials, the drug reduced recovery time from the disease by 33%. The drug is still in testing. Other experts will peer review the efforts to verify that others can replicate the results.