For the past few weeks, hydroxychloroquine has made headlines due to continuous mention by United States President Donald Trump as well as conservative media outlets, creating much anticipation around the antimalarial drug as a potentially game-changing treatment for COVID-19.
However, a French study has recently found that the drug does not seem to have an effect on novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) patients. A recent study showed that among hundreds of patients at the US Veterans Health Administration medical centers, those who took hydroxychloroquine were no less likely to need ventilation and, in fact, had higher fatality rates than those who were not administered the drug.
The latest study, however, have yet to undergo peer review. Furthermore, the medRxiv site notes the preliminary nature of the studies should not be considered for clinical application, nor relied upon for news reporting as established information.
According to CNN, Fox News has recently published a story on the drug and the possibility of its effective treatment of the virus, but it was subsequently pulled. When Trump was reportedly questioned about the story at the daily White House coronavirus task force press briefing, he said: “I don’t know of the report… Obviously there have been some very good reports and perhaps this one’s not a good report – but we’ll be looking at it.”
Figures from Media Matters for America (MMfA), a progressive, nonprofit organization, indicate that between March 23 and April 6, Fox News mentioned the drug around 300 times, but between April 16 and April 20 mentions of the drug dropped by 77% compared to the previous five-day period.