Watch: Dr. Fauci undermines Trump's hydroxychloroquine claims — says it's 'quite evident' the drug won't treat COVID-19

Watch: Dr. Fauci undermines Trump's hydroxychloroquine claims — says it's 'quite evident' the drug won't treat COVID-19
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci addresses his remarks and urges citizens to continue to follow the President’s coronavirus guidelines during a coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Although President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19, major health experts do not share his enthusiasm for the anti-malaria drug. The World Health Organization announced Monday that it was suspending a clinical trial of the medication — and the following day, France’s health ministry announced a ban on hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.

On Wednesday, expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is part of Trump’s coronavirus task force, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that there is no proof that use of hydroxychloroquine can prevent one from being infected with coronavirus.

The 79-year-old Fauci was nuanced in his remarks, carefully avoiding outright criticism of Trump. But as diplomatic as Fauci was during the CNN interview, it was clear that he didn’t recommend using hydroxychloroquine in the hope of avoiding a COVID-19 infection.

“You know, Jim, I’m not so sure it should be banned,” Fauci told Tapper. “But clearly, the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it — and even the possibility that there could be…. adverse events, particularly with regard to cardiovascular and the arrhythmias that may be associated with it. I mean, there was suspicion of that for a while. But as data comes in, it becomes more clear.”

Fauci added, “So, I’m not so sure you want to ban it, but certainly, the data are clear right now.”

Trump recently claimed that even though he had tested negative for COVID-19, he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure. Fauci, however, clearly does not recommend doing that.

In an article published on the FactCheck website earlier this week, writer Jessica McDonald and Rem Rieder asserted that Trump had been distorting the facts about hydroxychloroquine.

“As part of his justification for taking hydroxychloroquine,” McDonald and Rieder wrote, “the president repeatedly said that ‘many’ frontline workers take the drug for COVID-19 prevention. It’s unclear how many people do take the drug for prevention, or prophylaxis, but several physicians told us they were not aware of the practice at their institutions.”

McDonald and Rieder also explained, “Trump insisted that there only has been one ‘bad survey’ of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. That’s false. Numerous studies, including the best evidence to date, do not suggest that hydroxychloroquine is beneficial for COVID-19 patients.”

Fauci clearly agrees.

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