The use of hydroxychloroquine has been “anecdotally” positive for patients with the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing Monday.
At the briefing, the governor noted that the antimalarial drug had reportedly helped many people infected with the disease, but official scientific data was yet to come:
There are a lot of people who are relying on this, who were relying on it. People with lupus, etc. The tests in the hospital, they won’t say that they are… they’re too short a period of time to get a scientific report. You know, hospital administrators, doctors, want to give… have a significant data set before they give a formal opinion. Anecdotally, you’ll get suggestions that it has been effective, but we don’t have any official data yet from a hospital, or a quote unquote study, which will take weeks if not months before you get an official study.
There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising, that’s why we’re going ahead. Doctors have to prescribe, but there are some people who have pre-existing conditions where it doesn’t work, or they’re taking medication that’s not consistent with this treatment. But anecdotally its been positive.
“We’ll have a full test once they have a large enough sample and data set,” he stated.
The federal government had promised to increase the supply of the drug, which would allow New York to lift its 14-day limit on how much people could buy, according to the governor.
“We’ve allowed usage of the hydroxychloroquine with the Zithromax packs in hospitals at their discretion. The federal government is going to increase the supply to New York pharmacies,” he explained.
Monday, a Democrat state representative from Detroit, Michigan, credited the antimalarial drug and President Trump for saving her life during her recent battle with the coronavirus.
Rep. Karen Whitsett began taking hydroxychloroquine after her doctor prescribed it to her on March 31. She said relief came “less than two hours” after starting the treatment.
Whitsett noted that she was familiar with the drug because of her previous battle with Lyme disease and added that she would never have thought to ask for the drug if the president had not touted its benefits.
“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up. He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority,” she commented.
Sunday during a White House press briefing, President Trump defended his continued push for doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients despite criticism from the media.
“I’m trying to save lives,” he said, adding, “If it doesn’t work, it’s nothing lost by doing it. Nothing.”