“It’s shown very, very encouraging early results,” said President Trump.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Thousands of New York coronavirus patients are being treated with the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the New York Post reports.
A state Health Department official said the department has shipped enough hydroxychloroquine to treat 4,000 patients in 56 hospitals across New York.
The drug has long been used to treat and prevent malaria and has also been used to treat arthritis and lupus.
President Donald Trump first told reporters about its potential as a coronavirus treatment in a press conference on March 19.
“It’s shown very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” Trump said.
He said that he had already spoken with the governor of New York about the medication. “I spoke with Gov. Cuomo about it at great length last night, and he wants to be first on line,” he said.
In a press conference on March 20, Trump told reporters that the U.S. had already ordered millions of units of hydroxychloroquine. “I’m not being overly optimistic or pessimistic. I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try,” the president said.
Trump’s optimism about the drug was almost immediately attacked by some in the U.S. news media. CNN ran a piece titled, “Trump peddles unsubstantiated hope in dark times.”
On a March 25 broadcast, Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson said, “Several days ago, the president expressed confidence in hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the epidemic. That was it for the media.”
“If Trump is for it, they’re against it even if it might save American lives,” he said.
But Trump may not be the only one optimistic about the drug’s potential.
The New York Times reported on March 24 that doctors are hoarding the medication by writing prescriptions for themselves and family members.
In response to the stockpiling, the state pharmacy boards in Idaho, Kentucky, Ohio, Nevada, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Texas have issued emergency restrictions on how the drugs can be dispensed at pharmacies.
On March 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization to allow hydroxychloroquine from the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and used for coronavirus patients.
There is some anecdotal evidence, including from China, that the drug may help patients recover from the virus, but large-scale scientific studies have not yet been completed.
Dr. Didier Raoult of France has claimed success in small trials using hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin, an antibiotic.
Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko claims to have used a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate to successfully treat nearly 700 coronavirus patients in New York.
Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman of Ukraine has recommended that his country’s authorities adopt Zelenko’s treatment method.
The rabbi told Yediot Ahronot, “The results are amazing and speak for themselves.”