Topline: President Donald Trump caused confusion on Saturday by saying that a study suggested that people with autoimmune disease lupus were not as affected by the coronavirus – probably because they commonly use the drug hydroxychloroquine – but immediately backtracked, saying, “Maybe it’s okay, maybe it’s wrong, you’re going to have to check, “and his own medical advisor minimized any connection.
- Trump said on Saturday that hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat lupus, “could be a game-changer” in the treatment of coronavirus, which to date has no known cure.
- Hydroxychloroquine is a derivative of a anti-malaria medication called chloroquine and is effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Trump seemed to infer that people with lupus were not infected with the coronavirus because they were already taking hydroxychloroquine for lupus.
- It seems to have no proof to support this claim – in fact, according to the Lupus Foundation of America, people with lupus are more vulnerable infections like the coronavirus.
- At the same press conference, White House health adviser Anthony Fauci said that while the link between lupus and coronavirus was being examined, “we have no final information to be able to comment on this. ”
- Trump stepped in to say he hope that hydroxychloroquine will be used because it is “used for a long time” and people are “in poor condition” and “what to do [they] must lose? ” He asked.
Key context: Trump has already made statements about the possibilities of hydroxychloroquine, including falsely claiming that the FDA had approved the drugs for treatment – and just as recently as Friday Fauci warned that Americans should not assume that hydroxychloroquine is a ” drug knockoutRegarding the coronavirus, saying that more studies need to be done. The first one important clinic trial focusing on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus began in New York last week after receiving expedited approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The CDC warns against taking nonpharmaceutical non-prescription chloroquine phosphate and supervising a health care provider because it “can cause serious health consequences, including death”. The confusion over the drug has led some Americans to look for unofficial substitutes, such as an Arizona man who bought a common chemical used to clean aquariums, which kill him and landed his now widow in intensive care.
Additional reading: FDA approves chloroquine and anti-malaria hydroxychloroquine for emergency treatment of coronaviruses (Forbes)