For weeks, President Donald Trump’s backers on TV went all in on hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria and autoimmune drug that had horrific side effects and little evidence backing it, as a potential treatment for coronavirus.
Now, the medical community is showing promising results for the antiviral drug remdesivir. But this time, according to Politico, many of Trump’s backers don’t believe the experts — even as Trump himself expresses hope in the drug.
“Over three weeks ago, hydroxychloroquine was all the rage in MAGA world, despite flawed and scattered evidence about whether drug could help cure coronavirus. Now there is another drug, remdesivir, with positive early scientific data,” wrote Tina Nguyen. “Much of MAGA world wants little to do with it.”
“Indeed, the same segment of the right that claimed scientists and the media were deliberately downplaying hydroxychloroquine in order to hurt Trump’s standing are now the ones downplaying remdesivir,” continued the report. “On Fox News, Laura Ingraham suggested that remdesivir, as a newer drug being produced by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, could be unsafe and expensive. Those who initially helped raise the profile of hydroxychloroquine raised doubts about the remdesivir studies.”
“The unexpected reaction appears to stem from the differences in how the two drugs came into the public spotlight,” wrote Nguyen. “Hydroxychloroquine bubbled up through the MAGA grassroots — little-known investors promoted it online, got on Fox News and suddenly the president was talking about it from the White House. Remdesivir’s progress came through a government-funded trial that had the blessing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the bête noire of Trump hardliners who blame the government’s top infectious disease expert for undermining the president and causing unnecessary economic damage with his social-distancing guidelines.”
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