Top doctor: 'Irresponsible' and 'sad' to promote untested virus treatment


Donald Trump continues to push the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 during his daily briefings on the coronavirus outbreak.

From the April 6 edition of Fox News' "The Daily Briefing":

DANA PERINO, Fox News: Sir, can you tell me your thoughts about this drug — everybody wants to find a cure or a treatment or a therapy for coronavirus. What do you think about the drug that is used normally to treat malaria?


WILLIAM HASELTINE: Well, thank you for the question, Dana. It's sad to me that people are promoting that drug. We know already from studies, at best it will have a very mild effect, at very best.


There are studies that conflict a little bit, one from the other. One concludes it has no effect, the other concludes that it has a mild effect. The net result is, whatever effect it has, it will be very mild. That drug has been used for years against many other viruses to no effect.


The thing that makes me sad about that story is some people may take it who are on other medications, who have other underlying conditions, and they have very serious, even life-threatening consequences. It is not something to take unless a doctor prescribes it.


PERINO: And the government is not saying that a doctor could not prescribe it, but that should be something that is worked out between them. And what about the — and I know you don't go by anecdotal evidence, but there are stories of people saying that they've had this Lazarus effect by using this drug.


HASELTINE: That is nonsense, complete and utter nonsense. And in any situation, there are always going to be people who promote one kind of quack cure or another, and "there are Lazarus effects." In every epidemic I've ever looked at, it's always the case.


Let me just repeat, we know that at very best this drug will have a very mild effect on changing the course of the disease, if it has any effect at all. That is what the data has shown so far, and I am convinced that that’s what further studies will show.


And it is not without adverse consequence. It is irresponsible to promote this drug at this time.

Dr. William Haseltine was involved in research in the fields of HIV and AIDS, cancer, and genomics, and served for 17 years as a professor at Harvard Medical School, where he was founder and chair of two academic research departments.

Donald Trump has frequently touted the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus, despite concerns that it could have severe side effects for patients, including death.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.