Anthony Fauci, the main scientist in the U.S. coronavirus response, says combining a malaria drug with certain antibiotics shows “anecdotal” promise for COVID-19 patients and that his push for more proof doesn’t mean he is clashing with President Trump.
“I think there’s this issue of trying to separate the two of us. There isn’t fundamentally a difference there,” Dr. Fauci, the director of the told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “He’s coming at it from a hope-layperson standpoint. I’m coming at it from a scientific standpoint.”
Mr. Trump last week said he directed the Food and Drug Administration to speed the use of (hydroxy)chloroquine — a well-established antimalarial drug — and azithromycin antibiotics to treat coronavirus patients, citing studies that suggest it can help.
The president said it might be a “game-changer.”
Dr. Fauci sounded a bit hesitant from the White House podium. He said the medical world must conduct clinical trials to ensure the combo is safe and effective — a process that can take months — but that he’s not trying to pick a fight with the president.
“I’m not disagreeing with the fact, anecdotally, they might work,” Dr. Fauci told CBS. “But my job is to prove definitely from a scientific standpoint that they do work.”
Mr. Trump got a boost from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who on Sunday said he wants to see if the drug combination is effective. His state has seen the most coronavirus cases in the U.S.
He said New York will begin a trial of (hydroxy)chloroquine and azithromycin on Tuesday.