from NPR April 10, 2020
by Vanessa Romo
Concern is mounting after a doctor at a Texas nursing home started giving the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to dozens of elderly patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and tracking the outcomes in what he's calling an "observational study."
Use of the drug to treat coronavirus infections has set up a heated debate between the Trump administration and leading health experts over its efficacy against COVID-19.
President Trump has been an enthusiastic champion of hydroxychloroquine, calling it a "game-changer." But some of the nation's most respected health officials have said there is insufficient evidence showing that the 80-year-old drug, which is typically used to stave off malaria or treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is a viable treatment in battling the new virus.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for the treatment of COVID-19. The U.S. National Institutes of Health is currently tracking clinical trials of the drug. Additionally, the University of Minnesota is undertaking a trial and Columbia University is as well. Results are not expected for weeks or months.
The controversial decision to administer hydroxychloroquine at The Resort at Texas City over the last few days was made by Robin Armstrong, a physician and medical director of the nursing home.
"It's actually going well. People are getting better," Armstrong told NPR, adding that after just a handful of days, some of the 39 patients on the medication are showing signs of improvement.
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