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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday that preliminary data shows that the anti-malarial drugs touted by President Trump can help in treating coronavirus patients, but stopped short of a formal recommendation.
“We do have data from other countries we are looking at, and specifically one trial from France which suggests we might have some benefit for hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine against the Covid-19 disease,” Hahn said.
“We also have data from test-tube experiments that it does have activity against the virus,” Hahn continued. “That being said, we need more safety and more efficacy data, particularly the effective side of this drug, to make a final determination about the effectiveness.”
The work by researchers at IHU-Méditerranée Infection in Marseille has garnered global attention, notably from President Trump, who announced on March 19 that the FDA would make the experimental drugs available to coronavirus patients.
Over the weekend, a Florida man hospitalized with the coronavirus claimed hydroxychloroquine saved his life, and that his fever and pain dissipated soon after the drug was administered.
Hahn said that while the FDA will continue to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drugs, they will continue to be available to patients on an experimental basis.
“This drug is available and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] guidance that was provided gives doctors the information about whether they could prescribe this drug,” Hahn said.
“If I put my doctor hat on, if I am sitting across the table from the patient and the patient is asking me about this drug, I want to know the facts, the state of knowledge around hydroxychloroquine, what are the risks, and the benefits,” he added, “and then as a doctor for each individual patient, I need to make that determination. That’s what the CDC guidance provides and the drug is available around the country for that purpose.”