COVID-19 treatment debate

U.S. & World

(NBC) – Prescriptions of hydroxychloroquine have spiked amid aggressive promotion by President Donald Trump as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

But even within the White House, opinions on the drug’s efficacy are divided, with the nation’s top infectious disease expert saying more scientific data is needed.

“What we talked about with the chloroquine. I think it could be something really incredible,” the President said.

But medical experts urge caution when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, saying anecdotal overseas studies aren’t scientific.

And the drug- approved for treating malaria and lupus – carries cardiovascular risks.

Vanderbilt University is enrolling patients in a sweeping clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine to determine if it works, and if so, the most effective way to use it.

“We’re all looking for better treatments for COVID and it’s only through the use these trials of several different kinds of treatments candidates that we’ll find out what the best way forward is,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt.

The American Medical Association is urging coronavirus treatments be driven by science as the pressure for a proven treatment spikes along with coronavirus cases.

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