It appears that President Trump and the country’s delegated experts on the COVID-19 disease may hold different positions on the possibility of Chloroquine use for treatment. This became known on Friday after top immunologist, Anthony Fauci was made to answer questions on expected outcomes if the antimalarial drug was adopted for use.
Note that Trump had previously mentioned on Thursday, that there were significant progresses made on the use of the old drug. He had in fact added that it would almost immediately be made available for people infected by the dreaded virus. However, reacting to a question asking if there were observed evidences suggesting that Chloroquine could prevent an individual from coming down with the illness, Dr. Fauci didn’t hesitate to debunk the claims.
The facts according to Dr. Fauci
In his explanation at the Washington DC press briefing, Dr. Fauci stressed on the fact that all evidence available on the efficacy of Chloroquine use for COVID-19 treatment, are largely anecdotal. He, however, acknowledged the authenticity of claims made by the President and the FDA, on ongoing work aimed at seeing what positive effects the drug may have as a possible cure.
According to the medical chief, the drug is not yet confirmed to be truly effective and/or safe, for COVID-19 treatment. Important reasons why it is yet unconfirmed for this use is because it hasn’t been subjected to regulated clinical tests, which would have given a more definitive answer on what is obtainable.
Although there have been reports of the therapeutic effects of the drug for COVID-19 patients in such places as France and China, the conditions required for it to be declared as effective has not been met. These conditions include testing the drug on several patients and comparing the results with others that were not administered with the drug. It is estimated that these types of tests take months to conclude, and they also would require huge funds to run.
However, speaking at the briefing, President Trump continued to show much optimism for Chloroquine use, and might not have weighed all of the facts available. This is not unconnected with his “love” for the age-long drug that was truly considered a breakthrough in malaria treatment.
Other happenings at the Washington briefing
Still fielding questions at the briefing, President Trump made remarks suggesting that Chloroquine might have been useful for treating the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003. Again, not agreeing with Trump’s arguments for Chloroquine use, Dr. Fauci cautioned Trump’s statements on this, stating that the trials were not carried out on a clinical scale.
It was observed during the briefing that the president while deferring to Fauci’s unarguable expertise, sometimes also seemed to undermine it.
It has been gathered that although the FDA is yet to issue any approval on the use of Chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment, the president has continued to pressure officials to hasten action. When asked by another journalist whether there were any reasons why the antimalarial drug could be considered unsafe for combating the virus, Fauci suggested that most drugs had their own toxicities. He, however, concluded this by opining that although this is true, many years of Chloroquine use has shown that the drug has rare or reversible toxicities. What is uncertain though, is whether this would remain true- if the drug was used for some other ailments.
Now, irrespective of the divergent views between the president and Dr. Fauci, the later did not fail to mention that he was also optimistic of a possible solution from Chloroquine. He indicated that he was, however, concerned with following the right scientific procedures to doing this, and also in a way that would not present wrong information to the many hopefuls in the country and abroad.