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Not So Fast: Hydroxychloroquine Is Unproven As A COVID-19 Cure

Illustration picture shows a pharmacist holding a box of Plaquenil.
Illustration picture shows a pharmacist holding a box of Plaquenil.

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug with a long name and little recognition.

One person who seems to know something about it is President Donald Trump. He mentioned it in a White House coronavirus briefing in March, saying it “could be a game-changer” in the fight against the disease.

Trump wasn’t the first person to put the anti-malarial medication forward as a potential cure. Studies overseas initially sparked global interest in the drug as a treatment option. But these same studies have since been critiqued by some in the scientific community.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug’s use to treat coronavirus. There are inherent dangers to promoting an unproven drug. And the medication is a legitimate treatment for other potentially-fatal diseases like Lupus, and drug shortages are occurring as people scramble to get hold of it. And some coronavirus patients could die of harmful side effects.

Some people in the United States have already used the drug in an attempt to fight COVID-19. Residents of a Texas nursing home were administering the drug without the consent of their families.

As the world continues to look for treatment options for coronavirus, is an anti-malarial medication really the answer?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Avery Kleinman