US President Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States had bought "a tremendous amount" of hydroxychloroquine and there were "very strong signs" it can treat the new coronavirus despite its effectiveness being yet to be confirmed through testing.
"I would love to go to a laboratory and spend a couple of years testing something. We don't have time. we don't have two hours because people are dying," Trump said during a White House briefing. "If it does help great. If it doesn't help, we gave it a shot."
"What really do we have to lose," Trump added.
Trump has previously heralded a French study suggesting that hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, a common antibiotic, might be an effective treatment for COVID-19. Dr Anthony Fauci, who is part of the White House coronavirus task force, has reminded people that there was only "anecdotal" evidence for the idea. But the drug has major potential side effects, especially for the heart, and large studies are underway to see if it is safe and effective for treating COVID-19.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.