- White House coronavirus testing czar Brett P. Giroir on Sunday said it was time to "move on" from discussing hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment, adding "evidence just doesn't show hydroxychloroquine is effective, for now."
- There is no scientific data to suggest that hydroxychloroquine can treat or prevent the novel coronavirus, although President Donald Trump has continued to tout the drug during the pandemic.
- The president last week shared a video from a controversial doctor who advocated for the use of the drug and reminded reporters at a press conference that he took the drug after he had been potentially exposed to COVID-19.
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The White House coronavirus testing czar said Sunday it was time to "move on" from the discussions surrounding hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus days after President Donald Trump again defended the drug.
"Hydroxychloroquine needs to be prescribed by a physician," Brett P. Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday. "There may be circumstances — I don't know what they are — where a physician may prescribe it for an individual, but I think most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based and they're not influenced by whatever is on Twitter or anything else."
He added: "And the evidence just doesn't show that Hydroxychloroquine is effective, for now. I think we need to move on from that and talk about what is effective."
Giroir said regular handwashing, avoiding crowds, and avoiding spaces were effective measures to prevent contracting the coronavirus. He also said knowledge about effective treatments has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, citing "effective therapies" like remdesivir and steroids, and "promising" ones like immune plasma and a vaccine that he said he believed was "on the horizon."
For months, Trump and his allies have promoted the drug as a coronavirus treatment despite the general consensus the drug is not effective in treating or preventing COVID-19.
Last week, Twitter temporarily limited the account of the president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., after he posted a video about hydroxychloroquine, saying he violated its policy on "spreading misleading or potentially harmful information related to COVID-19."
In the video, which originated from Breitbart News, doctors from a group called America's Frontline Doctors argue that hydroxychloroquine is a "cure" for coronavirus, and called studies questioning the effectiveness of the drug "fake science," as Business Insider's Paige Leskin reported.
The president also shared tweets that contained the debunked video and retweeted posts that accused social-media platforms of censorship removing it.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the president told reporters he continued to believe that the drug, known as a malaria treatment, had positive effects in battling COVID-19.
"Many doctors think it is extremely good and some people don't… I happen to believe in it. I would take it. As you know, I took it for a 14 day period and I'm here, right? I'm here," Trump said July 28.
"I happen to think it works in the early stages. I think frontline medical people believe that too — some, many. So we'll take a look at it," he added.
Last Wednesday, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he and his doctor agreed to use hydroxychloroquine as treatment.
That same day, during an interview on MSNBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and top US expert on the coronavirus, said that the evidence didn't support hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.
"You look at the scientific data and the evidence. And the scientific data … on trials that are valid, that were randomized and controlled in the proper way, all of those trials show consistently that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of coronavirus disease or COVID-19," he said
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