Trump Says 'People Aren't Gonna Die' From Taking Hydroxychloroquine

President Donald Trump espoused the virtues of the medication hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus on Fox News Tuesday, telling host Sean Hannity that people wouldn't die if they took the drug.

Over 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, which primarily been prescribed for the treatment of malaria and lupus, have been added to the federal stockpile. While the medication has not been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, hydroxychloroquine has been allowed to be given to some coronavirus patients under emergency situations.

Trump said he had not seen any negative reports about the usage of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, saying that he would take it himself.

"I haven't seen bad!" Trump said. "I've not seen bad. One thing that we do see is that people are not gonna die from it. So if somebody is in trouble, you take it, I think. I would."

Trump said the combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin was "pretty amazing," although he did issue a warning about taking the two medications together.

"People don't know, but that might cause a problem with the heart, in which case you don't take the azithromycin," Trump said. "That's for infection. But that's the combination and some people add zinc."

"The FDA has been working closely with other government agencies and academic centers that are investigating the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are already approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to determine whether these drugs can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease," said an FDA spokesperson in a statement sent to Newsweek on Wednesday. "Studies are underway to determine the efficacy in using these drugs to combat COVID-19."

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President Donald Trump said Tuesday people would not die if they took hydroxychloroquine, a medication that may help relieve symptoms of coronavirus. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Trump also claimed that areas where malaria is a constant threat have not had large outbreaks of coronavirus because of hydroxychloroquine. No sources were given for Trump's comment.

"They're finding that people like in the malaria countries, it doesn't seem that those countries have been hit because the people take it," Trump said. "You have countries that have massive malaria problems and they take the hydroxychloroquine and they don't seem to be having the problem with the virus that all of the countries are having. You know, it's in 182 countries as of this moment."

Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure for coronavirus during the White House coronavirus task force briefings. On Sunday, Trump encouraged the usage of the medication by saying, "What do you have to lose?"

However, infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told the CBS news program Face the Nation on Sunday that there is no absolute proof that hydroxychloroquine is effective against coronavirus.

"In terms of science, I don't think we can definitively say it works," Fauci said. "The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there's no effect."

Guidance for hydroxychloroquine usage and other potential medications for coronavirus was removed from the CDC website Tuesday.

"There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19," the website read. "Interim guidelines for the medical management of COVID-19 will be provided soon by the Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel."

Michigan State Representative Karen Whitsett said Monday that hydroxychloroquine may have made the life-saving difference for her. On Fox News Monday, Whitsett said she took the medication after suffering the rapid onset of coronavirus symptoms. Whitsett said that her symptoms stopped "within a couple of hours."

"I really want to see that you have to give this an opportunity," Whitsett said. "For me, it saved my life."

Trump acknowledged Whitsett's story during his Tuesday interview. "She might be a Democrat," Trump said, "but she'll vote for me, maybe."

Updated 5:46 p.m. EST 04/08/2020: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Food and Drug Administration.