Trump says he is taking malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as hedge against COVID-19

Trump says he is taking malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as hedge against COVID-19

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Doug Mills/The New York Times-Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Monday (May 18) he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that he has touted despite medical warnings about its use, as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus.

"I've been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day," Trump told reporters.

Trump made the disclosure during a question-and-answer session with reporters during a meeting with restaurant executives about the impact of the virus.

Weeks ago Trump had promoted the drug as a potential treatment for the virus but subsequent studies found that it was not helpful.

Trump, 73, who is tested daily for the virus, said he had asked the White House physician if it was okay to take the drug, and the doctor told him: "Well, if you'd like it."

The disclosure came as Moderna reported progress in a potential vaccine for the virus. The only drug that has emerged as a potential treatment is Gilead Sciences' remdesivir, a drug reserved for hospital patients.

READ: COVID-19: US drugmaker reports promising early results from vaccine test

Fox News Channel, immediately after Trump's remarks, interviewed Dr Bob Lahita, who cautioned people not to take hydroxychloroquine.

"There's no effect that we have seen and we have treated multiple patients with it," he said.

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Source: Reuters