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Hydroxychloroquine Is 'Not Effective' Against COVID-19 And Has 'Side Effects,' WHO Warns

Gettyimages | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
By Clark Sparky

Just days after Donald Trump made the shocking revelation that he's been taking hydroxychloroquine, the World Health Organization warned against the drug as a preventative measure or treatment for the coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said the medication should only be used for COVID-19 in a controlled clinical trial. Trump said his physician prescribed him the drug a couple weeks ago, and he's been taking it daily.

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Acknowledging that "every sovereign nation, particularly those with effective regulatory authorities, is in a position to advise its own citizens regarding the use of any drug," Ryan pointed out that neither hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been "found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 or in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease." Ryan added that "warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug" and that WHO advises "that for COVID-19 these drugs be reserved for use within such trials."

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The FDA warned against the drug, which is used for treating lupus and malaria, back in April saying it can cause "serious heart rhythm problem."

"I'm taking it for about a week and a half now and I'm still here, I'm still here," Trump said on Monday. "You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it."

Trump was asked if he has any evidence that the drug has positive benefits. "Here's my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it," he replied. "I've heard a lot of good stories [about hydroxychloroquine] and if it's not good, I'll tell you right I'm not going to get hurt by it," he added.

The president's doctor, Dr. Sean Conley, wrote that "we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risk" in a statement on Monday.

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He added: "In consultation with our inter-agency partners and subject matter experts around the country, I continue to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential COVID-19 therapies, and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future."

There was immediate backlash to the president's announcement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a guest on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Monday night and addressed the news.

"I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say," Pelosi said. "So, I think that it's not a good idea."

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