- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Democratic lawmaker from Detroit has credited the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine — and President Trump — for her recovery from the novel coronavirus.

Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett said she began feeling relief “in less than two hours” after being prescribed the drug on March 31. She and her husband began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, on March 18, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Mr. Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, as a possible “game changer” in the pandemic fight, touching off pushback from media outlets and others who note that the drug has not been FDA approved for COVID-19.

Last week, the FDA issued an emergency-use authorization for the drug amid anecdotal reports of its effectiveness from doctors and patients. The drug has long been FDA-approved for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

As far as Ms. Whitsett was concerned, the drug made an enormous difference. Asked if she thought Mr. Trump saved her life, she said, “Yes, I do,” and “I do thank him for that.”

“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” Ms. Whitsett said. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”

Mr. Trump responded Monday by tweeting, “Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan. So glad you are feeling better!”

Ms. Whitsett retweeted his tweet on her account, adding, “Thank you Mr. President!”

She told the newspaper her symptoms included “shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection,” and that she is still experiencing headaches.

Medical experts have emphasized that HCQ and the antibiotic azithromycin should be taken to treat the novel coronavirus only under a physician’s care, noting that the drugs can exacerbate certain heart conditions.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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