US President Donald Trump says he consulted with White House doctor on taking the anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) that he has called a possible defense against coronavirus.
“I happen to be taking it, Hydroxychloroquine,” he told reporters on Monday. He said he had consulted with the White House doctor and suggested he is taking the drug as a preventive measure. Trump said he has been checked regularly for Covid-19, has tested negative and has no symptoms. He said he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine for about a week and a half.
Scientists including Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also have cautioned that clinical trials are needed to determine the drug’s effectiveness against the coronavirus.
Trump last month said he was considering taking Hydroxychloroquine and would consult his doctors even as health-care experts and his own advisers were still debating its efficacy. At the time, the president also suggested that health-care workers would be wise to take the drug preventively, whether they have symptoms or not
“I certainly would not recommend that people in the U.S. ask their physicians to prescribe Hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid,” he said. “Its use is entirely speculative.”
In a memo released by the White House Monday night, the president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, noted that a support-staff member tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago.
“After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of Hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” said Dr. Conley, who is a Navy commander.
A White House official said Dr. Conley prescribed the drug to Mr. Trump and that he took it in response to a potential exposure.
Dr. Conley said Mr. Trump is in good health and symptom-free and all his Covid-19 tests have been negative. He said he would continue to monitor studies on Covid-19 therapies