Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto expressed shock over President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday that he is taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the Chinese coronavirus, warning that the drug could kill certain people taking it.
President Trump told reporters at the White House that he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug, saying that he’s been consuming one tablet daily for about a week and a half. The president also revealed that he is taking zinc.
“A number of studies, those certainly vulnerable in the population have one thing to lose, their lives,” Cavuto said on his program following President Trump’s announcement. “A VA study showed that among a population of veterans in a hospital receiving this treatment, those with vulnerable conditions, respiratory conditions, heart elements, they died.”
“Those who took it, in a vulnerable population, including those with respiratory or other conditions, they died,” the Fox Business Network host continued. “I want to stress again — they died. If you are in a risky population here and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or, in a worst-case scenario, you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you. I cannot stress that enough. This will kill you.”
“So again, whatever benefit the president says this has — and certainly has had for those suffering from malaria, dealing with lupus — this is a leap that should not be taken casually by those watching at home or assuming, ‘well, the President of the United States says it’s okay,’” he added.
Adding zinc to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin might help the drug combination resolve some COVID-19 symptoms, a study posted online this week said, though experts say the two-drug treatment’s benefit is questionable and carries health risks.
The findings breathe new life into a treatment regimen that has been touted by political and business leaders even before the results of clinical trials were in, experts said Wednesday.
Studies to date have indicated that the combination offers limited benefits at best, with potentially dangerous side effects.
“There is currently no highly effective agent for COVID-19 that we are aware of,” Dr. Joseph O. Rahimian, an infectious disease specialist at New York University Langone Health and co-author of the zinc study, told UPI.
“It may end up that optimal treatment will include multiple agents and that zinc may be a part of a treatment ‘cocktail,'” he said.
Historically, hydroxychloroquine has been used to treat malaria, while azithromycin is a commonly used antibiotic. Both have been studied in numerous clinical trials since the start of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
To date, research has yielded mixed results. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about “life-threatening” side effects associated with hydroxychloroquine and advised that the drug only be used in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.
The UPI contributed to this report.