- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2020

President Trump on Saturday said it would be a “gift from heaven” if several drugs end up having a real effect in helping combat the coronavirus outbreak.

“As the expression goes, what do we have to lose?” Mr. Trump said at a White House briefing on the federal response to COVID-19. “I feel very good about it.”

“We’re going to be delivering a lot of samples to New York and other places and we’re going to find out very shortly whether or not it’s going to work. I feel very confident,” he said.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump directed the Food and Drug Administration to repurpose hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, for use against the coronavirus.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier in the day that his state was going to start conducting drug trials with hydroxychloroquine and zithromax, an antibiotic, and that the FDA was going to accelerate the delivery of 10,000 doses to his state.

At the briefing, Mr. Trump acknowledged ongoing work with a potential vaccine for COVID-19.

“But this is more immediate,” he said. “Right now, this to me would be the greatest thing that could happen. This would be a gift from heaven. This would be a gift from God if it [works]. So we’re going to pray to God that it does work.”

He acknowledged that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other doctors would like to see the samples “done in a certain way.”

Earlier in the day, the president said that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, taken together, have a real chance “to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

“The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”

Dr. Fauci said at the briefing that there may be “anecdotal” instances of such drugs having an effect.

“They may be true, but they’re anecdotal,” he said. “If you really want to definitively know if something works… you got to do the kind of trial that you get the good information.”

“The president is talking about hope for people, and it’s not an unreasonable thing to hope for people,” he said.

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