Trump praises malaria drug for coronavirus treatment: ‘Could be a tremendous breakthrough’

President Trump says long-existing drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine currently used for malaria, arthritis could treat coronavirus

Last Updated:
March 19, 2020 - 4:04pm

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President Trump said Thursday that long-existing drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – now used for malaria and arthritis – could successfully treat coronavirus.

“This is a common malaria drug. It’s also a drug used for strong arthritis,” Trump said at the daily White House briefing on the pandemic. “It has been around for a long time, and it’s very powerful. But the nice part is it’s been around for a long time. If things don’t go as planned, we know it’s not going to kill anyone. This has been used in different forms and it has shown very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that’s where the FDA has been so great.” 

The president's announcement confirms earlier Just the News reporting about the malaria drugs' potential to treat the coronavirus.

Trump also said Thursday that the possible use of these malaria drugs would be for therapeutic treatment of coronavirus, not a vaccine for the virus. That process of a vaccine development could take a year, the president noted, due to requirements for longer-term testing to ensure safety.

The president also said the malaria drugs would be “almost immediately” available through prescriptions and that states would be managing their distribution.

“Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that,” Trump said. “We have to remove every barrier. There were a lot of barriers that were unnecessary. We think we’ll have some good answers.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, a former cancer researcher, said during the same briefing that his staff of 17,000 people were working to ensure that “regulatory flexibility and guidance” ensure streamlined approval of the malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment.

“He asked us to be aggressive, to break down barriers to innovation,” Hahn said about the president. “Our folks, and they’re tremendous people, they’re working day and night to do this." ​​

“It could be a game changer,” Trump said. “This could be a tremendous breakthrough.”