KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump declared he's finished with a two-week hydroxychloroquine  therapy
  • He still believes that the drug is effective as COVID-19 prevention, despite scientific evidence
  • The WHO suspended its clinical trial for hydroxychloroquine Monday
     

President Donald Trump said that he is feeling fine after he finished a two-week hydroxychloroquine therapy, the drug he calls a "game-changer" for treating COVID-19, the disease from the novel coronavirus.

Despite unproven claims that the antimalarial drug may prevent or cure coronavirus, Trump drew strong reactions when he revealed to the press that he's on the therapy as a precautionary measure. The president said that he needed to protect his health after two staff members in the White House tested positive for coronavirus.

“Finished, just finished," the president said in the program "Full Measure" Sunday. "And by the way, I’m still here.”

The last remark was in response to health experts and medical professionals who issued cautionary advice in taking the medication if the patient doesn't have an autoimmune disorder like lupus. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warned against taking the drug outside of the hospital since it may bring severe risks to the heart.

The president, however, said he heard otherwise.

"Frankly, I’ve heard tremendous reports. Many people think it saved their lives," Trump said on the program. "Doctors come out with reports. You had a study in France, you had a study in Italy that were incredible studies."

49923073841_9891aabe91_h President Donald J. Trump disembarks Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday, May 21, 2020, following his trip to Michigan. Photo: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

On Monday (May 18), Trump's doctor, Sean Conley, issued a statement stating that he had discussions with the president on the advantages and disadvantages of using hydroxychloroquine.

"We concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relevant risks," the doctor said.

Following Trump's interview, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday (May 25) that the hydroxychloroquine clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment had been suspended due to "safety concerns."  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited a study from the journal The Lancet, released Friday (May 22), which showed that hydroxychloroquine could increase deaths among COVID-19 patients.

The findings join a list of growing evidence around the world that hydroxychloroquine is not effective against COVID-19. In Brazil, experts also suspended a clinical trial after the patients experienced irregular and fatal heartbeats. In China, patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine were in a worse state than those on standard treatment. In France,  the drug did not affect the progression of COVID-19 patients' condition.