Trump says he is taking antimalarial drugs in case he gets coronavirus

WASHINGTON: He said Monday that he is taking an antimalarial drug to lessen symptoms in case he gets the new one, even though the drug is not proven to fight.

Trump told reporters that he has been taking the drug and a zinc supplement daily for about a week and a half.

Trump spent weeks pushing the drug as a possible cure for Covid-19 against the advice of many of the best medical professionals in his administration.

The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to fight the new coronavirus.

Trump said his doctor did not recommend the medication, but requested it from the White House doctor.

I started taking it, because I think it's good, Trump said. I have heard many good stories.

He dismissed the reports of side effects and said: All I can tell you is that so far it seems like I'm fine.

Trump has repeatedly pushed for the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic, but no exhaustive and rigorous study has found them safe or effective in preventing or treating Covid-19.

They can cause heart rhythm problems and other side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the drug combo and said that hydroxychloroquine should only be used for the coronavirus in formal studies.

Two large observational studies, each with around 1,400 patients in New York, recently found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. Two new ones published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ came to the same conclusion.

One, carried out by French researchers, gave 84 hospitalized patients the medicine and another 97 received usual care.

There were no differences in the odds of death, the need for intensive care, or the development of serious illness.

The other study from China was a stricter test: 150 hospitalized adults with mild or moderate illness were randomized to receive hydroxychloroquine or usual care.

The drug made no difference in virus clearance rates or time for symptom relief, and brought more side effects.

In April, the National Institutes of Health launched a study testing hydroxychloroquine versus a placebo drug in 500 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Last week, the NIH announced another study to see if hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin can prevent hospitalization or death in people with mild to moderate illness.

About 2,000 American adults with confirmed coronavirus infections and symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath will receive the medications or placebo pills.