Concern is mounting after a doctor at a Texas nursing home started giving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to dozens of elderly patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and tracking the outcomes in what he’s calling an “observational study.”
Use of the drug to treat coronavirus infections has set up a heated debate between the Trump administration and leading health experts over its efficacy against COVID-19.
President Trump has been an enthusiastic champion of hydroxychloroquine, calling it a “game changer.” But some of the nation’s most respected health officials have said there is insufficient evidence showing the 80-year-old drug, which is typically used to stave off malaria or treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is a viable treatment in battling the new virus.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for the treatment of COVID-19. The U.S. National Institutes of Health is currently tracking clinical trials of the drug. Additionally, the University of Minnesota is undertaking a trial and Columbia University is as well. Results are not expected for weeks or months.