Fox News host Dana Perino asked biologist Dr. William Haseltine, President of ACCESS Health International and former professor at Harvard Medical School, to weigh in on the drug’s potential use as a treatment for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“It’s sad for me that people are promoting this drug. We already know from studies at best that this will have a very mild effect – at best, “said Haseltine, who is well known for his groundbreaking research in cancer, genomics and HIV / AIDS.
The scientist noted that a number of studies on the effects of the coronavirus drug have given conflicting results and that its use against other viruses in the past has been ineffective. He also highlighted the potentially fatal impact it could have on people taking other medicines.
“It is not something to take unless a doctor prescribes it,” he said.
A day earlier, the president had felt that there was nothing to lose by trying the unapproved drug as a treatment, which prompted several health professionals to talk about the many dangers of taking hydroxychloroquine while ‘It has not yet been proven to work in this context.
Fox anchor: Can you tell me what you think of the medicine normally used to treat malaria.
Dr. Haseltine: I am sad that people are promoting this drug.
Anchor: But what about anecdotal evidence?
Haseltine: This is complete and absolute nonsense. Irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/0YaGcS3MtH
– Lis Power (@ LisPower1) April 6, 2020
Perino then raised exaggerated claims about the drug’s effectiveness that were pushed by his colleagues at Fox News.
“I know you are not basing yourself on anecdotal evidence, but there are stories of people saying that they had this Lazarus effect while using this drug,” she said.
Haseltine called the stories “complete and absolute nonsense”.
“In any situation, there will always be people who will promote one type of quack treatment or another. And there are Lazarus effects. In every epidemic I’ve ever seen, it’s always the case. Let me repeat, we know that at best this drug will have a very slight effect on the course of the disease, if it has any effect, “he said.
“This is what the data has shown so far, and I am confident that this is what other studies will show. And it is not without negative consequences. It is irresponsible to promote this drug at this time. “
Fox News hosts, including Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, as well as their guests, have touted the drug repeatedly, despite persistent advice from medical experts on the dangers of approving an unapproved treatment.
Last month Ingraham tweeted praise for hydroxychloroquine, claiming that he was showing “very promising results” in a New York hospital and suggesting that a patient was recovering like Lazarus. The tweet was then removed from the platform. Hannity, too, has meditated on the drug several times, going as far as to say on his radio broadcast that he would be “everywhere” the drug if diagnosed with a coronavirus.
In addition to the risks posed by taking a drug that is not yet approved for, or proven effective against, coronavirus, the storage of the drug can seriously endanger those who depend on it for approved treatment.
Hydroxychloroquine is currently approved by the FDA only for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and as an antimalarial agent. Its known side effects range from nausea and hallucinations to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
A HuffPost Guide for Coronavirus