While President Donald Trump has attracted ridicule from some critics for touting anecdotal evidence suggesting the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine could effectively treat or prevent the coronavirus, some medical experts support his optimism.
According to a top epidemiology professor from Yale University, widespread and early use of the drug among those who test positive for COVID-19 could potentially save 100,000 lives by the end of the pandemic, as reported by Fox News.
“It’s a political drug now”
Dr. Harvey Risch’s bold proclamation came during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s The Ingraham Angle on Tuesday.
“So, it’s a political drug now, not a medical drug, and that’s caused a complete population ignorance and I think we’re basically fighting a propaganda war against the medical facts,” he said of hydroxychloroquine.
Risch went on to lament the media’s constant narrative downplaying early results that showed some promise for the drug’s use against the coronavirus. He said such reports had impacted the perception not just of average Americans, but also doctors and other medical professionals.
“There are many doctors that I’ve gotten hostile remarks about saying that all the evidence is bad for it and, in fact, that is not true at all,” he added. “And it’s easy to show that all the evidence is actually good for it when it’s used in outpatient uses.”
Those who are able to see the possible benefit of the drug on a firsthand basis are those with the most at risk in the nation’s fight against the virus, Risch added.
“The ones who are at risk”
“Nevertheless, the only people who actually see that are a whole pile of doctors who are actually on the front lines treating those patients across the country — and they are the ones who are at risk of being forced not to do it,” he said.
Backing up his rhetoric is the fact that he recently published his own study on the efficacy of the drug, particularly when used in conjunction with azithromycin and zinc, when administered early on in the infection.
Risch’s conclusion was that hydroxychloroquine should be made “widely available” as a medical option for doctors treating COVID-19 patients.
Of course, this is precisely the argument Trump has made repeatedly over the past several months — including in his announcement that he had completed a course of treatment including the drug.
As more medical experts come out in favor of using hydroxychloroquine, the president likely still has a long wait before he receives any apologies from those who criticized him on this issue.