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Taking anti-malarial drug to protect against virus: Trump

By Lalit K Jha
May 19, 2020 08:28 IST
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United States President Donald Trump on Monday said he has been taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against coronavirus.

"I have been taking it (hydroxychloroquine) for about a week and a half," Trump told reporters at the White House, asserting that he has zero symptoms of the deadly COVID-19, which has killed over
90,000 Americans in the past three months.

Trump said he consulted his doctors in this regard but was not explicitly recommended by White House physicians.


"White House doctor didn't recommend. I asked him, what do you think? He said well, if you'd like it. I said yeah, I'd like it. I'd like to take it," he said.

Trump said he has been taking a pill of the anti-malaria drug a day.

"I take a pill every day. At some point, I'll stop. What I'd like to do is I'd like to have the cure and/or the vaccine, and that will happen, I think, very soon," he asserted.

Soon after Trump revealed to the world that he has been taking the medicine, the White House doctor said the president is in good health.

"The president is in very good health and remains symptom-free. He receives regular COVID-19 testing, all negative to date," Dr Sean P Conley, White House physician, said in a memorandum to Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Two weeks ago, one of the US president's support staff had tested positive for coronavirus.

"After numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risk," Dr Conley said.

Observing that a lot of people have been taking this malaria drug, Trump said lot of frontline workers are taking hydroxychloroquine.

"I don't take it because, hey, people said oh maybe he owns the company. No, I don't own the company. You know what, I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don't want them being sick. And there's a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on," Trump said.

"I take it (hydroxychloroquine) because I think I hear very good things. Again, you have to go to frontline workers. Many frontline workers take it, and they seem to be doing very well," Trump added.

The US president said he has zero symptoms of coronavirus.

"No, I haven't had any symptoms. I test every couple of days they want to test me, you know, for obvious reasons. So every couple of days I get tested, and I've shown always negative, right, negative. Totally negative, no symptoms, no nothing," he said.

Hydroxychloroquine sulfate was first synthesised in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria. It is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

The drug is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19 but it has been identified as a possible treatment for the infection and the US government has requested its immediate availability.

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Lalit K Jha
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