Hydroxychloroquine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today withdrew a special status known as emergency use authorization for the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

Emergency use authorization is designed to facilitate the availability of drugs needed during public health emergencies. It allows unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in such emergencies.

A large study of the drug hydroxychloroquine has been retracted by three of its authors.

The paper, published in the journal the Lancet last month, concluded that hydroxychloroquine, taken either alone or with an antibiotic, to treat patients with COVID-19 was of no benefit and actually increased a patient's risk of dying.

Taking hydroxychloroquine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 does not protect someone from getting the disease.

That's the conclusion of a study published Wednesday involving 821 participants. All had direct exposure to a COVID-19 patient, either because they lived with one, or were a health care provider or first responder.

The World Health Organization says it is temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good.

The move comes after the medical journal The Lancet reported on Friday that patients getting hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates than other coronavirus patients.

Publicity around the drug hydroxychloroquine spiked this week when President Trump revealed that he's taking it to prevent COVID-19.

All the attention on the drug in recent months is increasingly spilling into science and making it harder for some researchers to actually study whether the drug has potential for COVID-19.

Doctors have used hydroxychloroquine for decades to treat autoimmune conditions and to prevent malaria.

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday revealed to reporters that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc to protect against the coronavirus.

"I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this," the president told reporters, volunteering the information at the end of a roundtable with restaurant owners.

Trump said he asked his doctor about taking it after hearing from people who had done so. "Here's my evidence — I get a lot of positive calls about it," he said.

In mid-March, when the unproven idea of giving coronavirus patients anti-malarial drugs emerged on social media and on Fox News, the online pharmacy HealthWarehouse said orders for hydroxychloroquine started to spike.

Testing for COVID-19 at The Villages Polo Field in The Villages.
University of Florida

Recruitment is underway in Orlando, Leesburg and Daytona Beach for a clinical trial to see if hydroxychloroquine could help prevent COVID-19 infections.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to stock hospitals with Hydroxychloroquine. DeSantis has been  working with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to get shipments of the drug.

Hillsborough County is among the areas in Florida being hardest hit with coronavirus that will receive a shipment of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is being touted by some as a possible treatment for the symptoms of coronavirus.