A medication widely promoted by Donald Trump has been linked to approximately 17,000 Covid-related deaths, according to a recent scientific analysis.
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients were administered the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, despite a lack of evidence supporting its clinical benefits, as revealed by researchers. The French report suggests that the medication may have contributed to the deaths of 16,990 individuals in the US, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Turkey, according to Independent.
Published in the February edition of Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, the report relies on data extracted from a study in the scientific journal Nature. The study indicates an 11% increase in death rates associated with the prescription of hydroxychloroquine. This surge was attributed to side effects like cardiac rhythm abnormalities and the drug being used instead of more effective treatment options.
Donald Trump had previously touted the drug as a “miracle cure” and revealed using it as a preventive measure in May 2020, as reported by The New York Times. Despite quick criticism from medical professionals and a safety warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Trump persisted in endorsing the drug, dismissing the need for scientific testing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent infectious disease specialist, consistently refuted the use of hydroxychloroquine without clear evidence. Trump’s advocacy of the untested cure faced scrutiny, and Fauci firmly stated in March 2020 that it should not be considered a treatment for COVID-19 as per The Guardian.
Researchers from France and Canada used the reported number to analyze hospitalization data across the six nations, medication usage, and the increased relative risk of mortality associated with the drug. The study’s scope was limited to the period between March and July 2020 in the six nations, suggesting that the actual mortality toll could be much higher.
Hydroxychloroquine gained attention partly due to French virologist Didier Raoult, who led the Méditerranée Infection Foundation hospital. Raoult’s promotion of the drug faced criticism, leading to his eventual removal from his position. The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy board issued a statement denouncing Raoult’s paper, stating it did not meet the expected standard, particularly regarding the lack of clarity in inclusion criteria and patient triage for safety.
During the pandemic, then-President Trump said about the drug hydroxychloroquine, “What do you have to lose? Take it”. Now researchers are estimating 17,000 people may have died as a result of that advice. (Politico) pic.twitter.com/5BvnFR7HJM