The hunt for drugs to rein in the coronavirus is, like so much else in this crisis, filled with uncertainty. President Donald Trump sees great promise in a compound called hydroxychloroquine. That’s based on a couple of early trials in China and France that showed remarkable results after just a handful of days.
Some medical experts echo Trump’s enthusiasm, but many more do not. They say that the drug’s benefit is still unproven. Meanwhile, the government has welcomed the donation of 30 million doses to the Strategic National Stockpile.
Hydroxychloroquine, and its chemical cousin chloroquine, are well-established drugs. Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, while chloroquine helps with malaria. Both carry a particular risk for people with heart problems, plus other possible side effects.
Trump has said the drug should be used. “What have you got to lose?” he asked. The answer could be more complicated than meets the eye.
PolitiFact explored the science, risks, and government policy around hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine during the coronavirus outbreak. (We will update this story as necessary.)
Ask me anything today at 3 p.m. ET
Be sure to check out my “Ask Me Anything” as life as a coronavirus fact-checker on Reddit today at 3 p.m. ET. I’ll be answering questions about how coronavirus and misinformation are affecting young people on the r/teenagers subreddit.
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