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Don't do as Don does: Boris Johnson warns against taking hydroxychloroquine after Trump boasted he has been taking the unproven drug for 'a week and a half' to PREVENT Covid-19

Don't do as Don does: Boris Johnson warns against taking hydroxychloroquine after Trump boasted he has been taking the unproven drug for 'a week and a half' to PREVENT Covid-19
  • Donald Trump has revealed that he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent against catching coronavirus 
  • Drug - which is used to treat malaria - has been tested on the virus, but has not been shown to be effective
  • Medics warn that taking it as a precaution carries serious risks, including potentially-fatal heart arrhythmias
  • Sir David King, former health adviser to the UK, said 'every word' of Trump's advice should be ignored 
Downing Street distanced itself from Donald Trump's decision to self-medicate with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect himself against coronavirus today, saying it was not a good idea.
The US president, 73, astounded the world last night when he revealed he began taking the drug 'a week and a half' ago because 'good things are being said about it', including by medics who have written to him.
The admission at a White House press conference led to a wave of criticism from medical experts and politicians around the world, who said the leader was being irresponsible.
Asked about the claim this morning the Prime Minister's official spokesman said:  'It is not something which our own medical experts are recommending.'
Pushed on whether Mr Trump was setting a bad example, he added: 'I can only set out what the UK’s advice is, it is not something we recommend doing.’
Mr Trump has often touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, even going so far as to call it a 'cure' after a few early studies showed positive results in patients.
But repeated experiments since then have showed it has only limited or no effect on the virus, and can cause serious side effects including potentially-fatal heart arrhythmias.
This morning former UK government adviser Sir David King, who said 'every word' of the president's advice on coronavirus should be ignored. 
Meanwhile the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times accused Trump of 'using witchcraft to lead the COVID-19 fight' - suggesting that is why 90,000 Americans have died from the virus. 
But White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed today that the president shared his personal health information because he wants to be 'transparent' with Americans. 
Donald Trump has revealed that he is taking hydroxychloroquine - a drug typically used to treat malaria - to prevent himself from catching coronavirus after hearing 'good things' about it
She told the Fox News channel: 'First, let me emphasize strongly that any use of hydroxychloroquine has to be in consultation with your doctor – you have to have a prescription,' she said. 'That's the way it must be done.'
'That being said, I talked to the FDA commissioner this morning, Stephen Hahn, he said hydroxychloroquine has been approved for three other uses, we have a lot of information about the safety of this drug,' the new press secretary asserted. 'Though, ultimately, you make that decision with your doctor.'
In an editorial the Global Times said: 'To be re-elected, will the Trump administration do more outrageous things, posing more serious threats to the world? 
'We suspect there is nothing Washington dare not do right now. After all, what will it care if it doesn't care about tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of lives? 
'We sincerely hope the US political system can restrain the Trump administration's recklessness and prevent it from throwing the US and the world - which are suffering a catastrophe - into a deeper abyss.'
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also accused the US of trying to smear authorities in Beijing in order to avoid criticism for his own mishandling of the pandemic.
Speaking about hydroxychloroquine to Good Morning Britain, Dr King said: 'I think [Trump] speaks from the top of his head and every word he says should be ignored in terms of advice.
'I'm sorry but this is not the pronouncements of a person who is listening to the scientists. He is making it up as he goes along.'
Dr Stephen Griffin, an associate professor at the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, added: 'This is a staggering, irresponsible act that could very well amount to self-harm.
'The president seems either unaware or unconcerned that his actions will have profound influence amongst his supporters and perhaps the wider US or world population.
'Hydroxychloroquine is not licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID19 by the FDA, or any other agency. 
In fact the weight of evidence from most recent patient trials shows it to be ineffective, with the potential for adverse side effects including those affecting the heart.' 
Highlighting the potential risks to people - including President Trump - Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the president was putting his health at risk by taking the medicine despite being 'morbidly obese'. 
She told CNN: 'He's our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists.
'Especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, what is morbidly obese, they say. So, I think that it's not a good idea.' 
The White House attempted to push back on the criticism by releasing a memo from physician Dr Sean Conley which confirmed he had discussed taking the drug with Trump after several members of staff tested positive.
'We concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,' Dr Conley wrote.
Trump's spokeswoman later confirmed that the President was prescribed the drug and has been taking it for two weeks, after the note failed to make that clear.
The White House also stressed that Trump does not have the virus and is taking the medication as a preventative measure.
He decided to reveal the news while speaking off-the-cuff during a press conference after a round-table meeting with leaders of the restaurant industry about reopening amid the pandemic. 
That prompted several prominent doctors said they worried that people would infer from Trump's example that the drug works or is safe.
'There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective for the treatment or the prevention of COVID-19,' said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association. 'The results to date are not promising.'
People should not infer from Trump's example 'that it's an approved approach or proven,' because it's not, said Dr. David Aronoff, infectious diseases chief at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Hydroxychloroquine can cause potentially serious heart rhythm problems even in healthy people, but 'it's hard to infer' that Trump's artery plaque, revealed in tests from his 2018 physical, makes the drug especially dangerous for him, Aronoff said.
White House officials did not say whether any other administration officials were also taking the drug.
Trump said he took hydroxychloroquine with an 'original dose' of the antibiotic azithromycin. The president has repeatedly pushed the use of the drug with or without the azithromycin, but no large, rigorous studies have found them safe or effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.
Two large observational studies, each involving around 1,400 patients in New York, recently found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. Two new ones published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ reached the same conclusion.
One, by French researchers, gave 84 hospitalized patients the drug and 97 others the usual care. There were no differences in the odds of death, need for intensive care or developing severe illness.
The other study from China was a stricter test: 150 adults hospitalized with mild or moderate illness were randomly assigned to get hydroxychloroquine or usual care. The drug made no difference in rates of clearing the virus or time to relief of symptoms, and they brought more side effects.
'I'm taking the two - the zinc and the hydroxy,' he said. 'So far I seem to be okay.'
'I have been taking it for about a weekend for about a week and a half,' he noted. 'Every day. I take a pill every day.'
'At some point I'll stop,' he added. 
Dr Sean Conley, physician to the White House, released a memo confirmed that he spoke with Trump about the drug and decided the benefits outweighed the risks
Dr Sean Conley, physician to the White House, released a memo confirmed that he spoke with Trump about the drug and decided the benefits outweighed the risks 
Trump has often touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus - even going so far as to suggest it could be a 'cure' - but medical studies have suggested it has only mild benefits with serious risks
Trump has often touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus - even going so far as to suggest it could be a 'cure' - but medical studies have suggested it has only mild benefits with serious risks
Medics tweet against Trump
Medics tweet against Trump
Trump's comments prompted backlash from medics around the world, who reiterated the risks of taking the drug while also accusing the president of being misleading 
Medics tweet against Trump
Medics tweet against Trump
While studies are being carried out into hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness in treating coronavirus, early results have suggested it provides only marginal benefits with serious risks - something medics pointed out online
At the same round-table discussion, Trump also launched a fresh attack on the World Health Organisation and China over the virus, threatening to pull funding from the global public health body.  
Trump has been locked in a bitter spat with Beijing, alleging it covered up the initial outbreak in central China late last year before the disease unleashed death and economic devastation across the planet.
More than 317,000 people have died of COVID-19 out of nearly 4.8 million infections worldwide, and governments are scrambling to contain the virus while seeking ways to resuscitate their hammered economies.
With more fatalities and cases in the United States than any other country by far, under-pressure Trump has blamed the WHO for not doing enough to combat its initial spread.
'They're a puppet of China, they're China-centric to put it nicer,' he said on Monday at the White House. 'They gave us a lot of bad advice.'

Hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus: What does the evidence say?

Hydroxychloroquine - branded as Plaquenil - is a cheap drug that has been used as a prophylaxis against malaria for decades.
But no evidence currently exists to show the drug can prevent patients being struck down with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Scientists also warn there is no proof hydroxychloroquine, which was touted as a wonder drug by Donald Trump and can be given to arthritis and lupus patients, can even treat COVID-19.
Hope was sparked early on in the crisis when an early French study suggested the drug could have both antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects.
It caused a flurry of research across the world, including in Britain, an endorsement from Trump and emergency authorization from US regulators.
But other research has dealt a blow to the drug - one Chinese trial last month found it did not speed up the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
And New York researchers last week said patients got no benefits whether they took just the drug or paired it with the antibiotic azithromycin.
Leading doctors have warned the drug can cause severe side effects, and may even throw off the process that makes the heart beat in time.
One trial in Brazil was stopped early because so many of the enrolled coronavirus patients given the drug developed these arrhythmias.
SO, WHAT HAVE THE STUDIES SHOWN?
INFECTED PATIENTS 'GET NO BENEFIT FROM TAKING HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE'
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health looked at data from 1,438 COVID-19 patients across 25 hospitals in New York.
The study, published in JAMA last month, was observational and looked at the outcomes of patients given different drug combinations.
About 25 per cent of patients who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin - another promising coronavirus drug - died.
In comparison, the rate was 20 per cent for those only given hydroxychloroquine alone and was 10 per cent for those on azithromycin.
90% OF CRITICAL PATIENTS GIVEN THE DRUG DEVELOP ARRHYTHMIAS
Scientists in the US and France last month found 90 per cent of critically-ill COVID-19 patients given hydroxychloroquine developed heart arrhythmias.
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers monitored 90 patients in intensive care units, while University of Lyon academics analysed 40 patients.
Both uncovered similar results in JAMA Cardiology, after looking at the QT intervals - the time between the heart's ventricular muscles contracting and then relaxing.
When this interval becomes too long, the patient has developed a dangerous form of heart arrhythmia, called atrial fibrillation.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE MAY IMPAIR ABILITY OF IMMUNE SYSTEMS
Hydroxychlorouquine may impair the ability of patients' immune systems to fight off the infection, a review suggested at the start of April.
Harvard scientists analyzed 10 studies as well as anecdotal reports from doctors that suggested the drug could help coronavirus patient.
The review found many of the clinical trials were poorly conducted and anecdotal reports carried little weight.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE DOES NOT SPEED UP RECOVERY
The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine did not speed up coronavirus patients' recovery in a trial in China, scientists revealed in April.
In a disappointing blow for the promising drug, doctors said it did not work as a cure.
Patients who were taking it suffered fewer symptoms than others who were treated alongside them without the medication but their recovery time was the same.
They had tested hydroxychloroquine on 75 COVID-19 patients in hospitals and compared their illnesses to 75 patients who didn't receive the drug.
BRAZIL TRIAL STOPPED EARLY BECAUSE OF HEART PROBLEMS
A clinical trial in Brazil had to be stopped early, it was revealed last month, because patients developed heart problems.
The Brazilian study, taking place in the Amazonian city of Manaus, had planned to enroll 440 severely ill COVID-19 patients to test two doses of chloroquine.
But researchers reported their results and called a halt to the experiment after only 81 people had received the high-dose treatment which gave them 1,200mg per day.
One in four of the patients had developed heart rhythm problems and early data suggested death rates were higher among those patients.
MALARIA DRUG DOES IMPROVE SURVIVAL ODDS, PHYSICIANS CLAIM
Hydroxychloroquine has improved the survival and recovery odds for about 90 per cent of patients treated, a physicians group claimed.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) presented data on 2,333 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine.
Results showed 91.6 per cent of those who got the controversial drug fared better after treatment, it was reported at the end of April.
COMBINING DRUG WITH DIET SUPPLEMENT COULD WORK BETTER
Combining hydroxychloroquine with the dietary supplement zinc could create a more effective treatment for coronavirus patients, a study suggested last week.
Researchers found taking the drugs together, along with the antibiotic azithromycin, increased patient's chances of being discharged and decreased their risk of dying.
It did not, however, change the average time patients spent in hospital, how long they spent on a ventilator or the total amount of oxygen required.
The team, from New York University Grossman School of Medicine, says the findings are encouraging but that more studies are needed.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE COULD HELP TREAT PATIENTS, STUDY SAYS
French researchers last month found hydroxychloroquine could treat coronavirus patients, sparking hope of a cure.
Thirty patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine for 10 days, combined with azithromycin, an antibiotic.
Although very small, the study 'showed a significant reduction of the viral carriage' after the six days.
And results showed patients had a 'much lower average carrying duration' compared to patients who received other treatments.
Several weeks later, the study's publisher said the paper 'did not meet its standards' because it excluded data on patients who did not respond well to the treatment
White House doctor Dr. Sean Conley said he and Trump, believed the gain from using hydroxychloroquine outweighed its riskTrump said a doctor wrote to him about hydroxy and his description fits that of Vladimir Zelenko, a New York doctor who is being investigated by prosecutors
White House physician Dr Sean Conley (left) said in a memo that the benefits of Trump taking the drug outweighed the negatives, while the president touted physicians writing to him about the unproven treatment (pictured right, Dr Vladimir Zelenko, who has spoken of the benefits of the drug but is also under investigation by New York prosecutors)

Trump's remarks came on the day that America's death toll from the virus topped 90,000, with more than 1.5million cases making up a third of the world's total
Trump's remarks came on the day that America's death toll from the virus topped 90,000, with more than 1.5million cases making up a third of the world's total
'Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes,' Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and head of the NIH, said last week. 
Trump dismissed such studies and complained they were done by the Veterans Administration, where he does not have a lot of supporters. 
'Here's my evidence. I get a lot of positive calls about it. The only negative I heard -- was at the VA? People that aren't big Trump fans,' he said.
'If you look at that phony report that was put - in that report or the hydroxy was given to people that were an extraordinarily bad condition, extraordinary bad people that were dying. No, I think for whatever it's worth I take I was,' he said.
Trump also said he has 'zero symptoms' of the coronavirus, is tested daily and has tested negative.
'Totally negative, no symptoms, no nothing,' the president said. 
The president said a doctor in New York wrote to him about treating his patients with both hydroxy and the z-pack.
He did not mention a name but the description fits that of Vladimir Zelenko, a New York doctor who has promoted hydroxy as a coronavirus treatment and has been touted by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Federal prosecutors are examining Zelenko's records after conservative commentator Jerome Corsi, accidentally sent an email intended for Zelenko to another 'Z' name in his address book — federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who as a member of special counsel Robert Mueller III's team who examined Corsi's activities during the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post.
Zelinsky is tasked now with investigating coronavirus-related crimes in the Maryland U.S. attorney's office, including fake cures for the disease.  
Trump made the comments off-the-cuff at a White House roundtable meeting with restaurant industry executives about reopening amid the pandemic, that was also attended by Ivanka Trump (pictured)
Trump's enthusiasm for hydroxy was based on a French study of 20 patients in March that showed the drugs might work against the virus. But many scientists have questioned the methods that study and one from China used, saying more research on the drug was needed.
Trump has repeatedly touted stories he's heard of hydroxy's effect on those with the coronavirus.
In early April, he talked about Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who he saw on Ingraham's show the previous evening talking about her experience with the drug.
'A woman last night, I watched her on one of the shows, good show, Laura, and she thought she was dead. She was a representative from Michigan. She was just in horrible shape for 12 days, 14 days. She thought she was dead. I think she said that her doctor said it's going to be very tough. She saw me talking about this and she asked her husband to go to the drugstore. This is a Democrat representative, a person that you know perhaps wouldn't be voting for me. I think she will be voting for me now even if she's a Democrat,' he said. 
'She asked her husband, she said please go out. I'm not going to make it. You have to hear her story. Please go out and get it. He went at 10:00 in the evening to the drugstore and he got it. He gave it to her. I don't say it works like this but four hours later she woke and she said I feel better. And then shortly thereafter she felt great,' the president said. 
Ingraham met with Trump in the Oval Office to tout the drug. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, has been an advocate of hydroxy.  
Trump repeatedly has advocated for hydroxychloroquine to be used as a treatment option for the coronavirus even as many medical officials - including Dr. Tony Fauci, who sits on the White House Coronavirus Task Force - have urged a more cautious approach, noting the lack of reputable scientific studies on hydroxychloroquine.
And, in early April, during an impromptu White House press briefing Trump stopped Fauci from answering a question from a reporter about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.
When reporters tried to get Fauci's opinion on the drug – after he previously warned against seeing the malaria medication as a wonder drug – Trump stepped in and stopped the question.
'We're starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully in the not-too-distant future we'll be very proud of the job we all did,' Trump said, instead of letting Fauci answer. 

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