The New York Times reports:
President Trump on Thursday exaggerated the potential of drugs available to treat the new coronavirus, including an experimental antiviral treatment and decades-old malaria remedies that hint of promise but so far show limited evidence of healing the sick.
No drug has been approved to treat the new coronavirus, and doctors around the world have been desperately administering an array of medicines in search of something to help patients, especially those who are severely ill.
The malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are among the remedies that have been tried in several countries as the virus has spread around the world, killing at least 9,800.
The Associated Press reports:
President Donald Trump misstated the facts Thursday when he asserted that the Food and Drug Administration had just approved a decades-old malaria drug to treat patients infected by the coronavirus. After his FDA chief clarified that the drug still needs testing, Trump also overstated the drug’s potential upside in helping contain the outbreak. TRUMP: “And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process. It’s been approved.”
The drug, known chemically as chloroquine, has been available for decades to treat the mosquito-borne illness malaria. Technically, doctors can already prescribe the drug to patients with COVID-19, a practice known as off-label prescribing. But Trump falsely suggested to reporters that the FDA had just cleared the drug specifically for the viral pandemic spreading in communities across the U.S. That would mean that the drug had met the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness.