Gov. Kristi Noem and Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said results from South Dakota’s first-in-the-nation clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 will not be available until September.
Apparently, however, President Donald Trump decided to conduct his own test to see how well the anti-malaria drug works against the coronavirus.
“I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it,” Trump said on Monday regarding hydroxychloroquine, leading to audible gasps among the news media assembled in the room at The White House in which he was speaking.
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it,” Trump continued.
This, despite the fact Trump’s own U.S. Food and Drug Administration states: ”FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.”
“All I can tell you is, so far, I seem to be OK,” Trump added on Monday.
Trump’s Monday comments created somewhat of a firestorm in the nation’s capital.
“He is our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a CNN interview late Monday.
Pelosi went on to allege that Trump is “morbidly obese,” stating his weight increases the risks associated with hydroxychloroquine.
Meanwhile, Fox News host Neil Cavuto said in reaction, “It will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you.”
On Tuesday, Trump said he would stay on the drug for “a little while longer.”
“It’s just a line of defense. I’m just talking about it as a line of defense. I’m dealing with a lot of people. Look at all the people in the room,” Trump said on Tuesday. “I’m just very curious, myself. But, it seems to be very safe.”
“I think it gives you an additional level of safety,” Trump added of hydroxychloroquine.
Status of South Dakota Clinical Trial
While Noem is a strong ally to Trump on many matters, she did not forcefully endorse his use of hydroxychloroquine.
“I think everybody, you know, works with their doctor to decide what to do,” Noem said about the drug on Tuesday. “That’s usually an individual decision somebody makes with their doctor.”
Meanwhile, Malsam-Rysdon said there are two registries taking place alongside the South Dakota clinical trial. One of those registries is for people who are positive with COVID who are prescribed hydroxychloroquine by their provider.
The second registry is for people who have COVID, but are not on the drug.
“We expect to have the first tranche of data from the registries in September,” Malsam-Rysdon said.
“We’ll have a clinical team across the systems looking at that, seeing what we can learn about, you know, what’s maybe working better and what’s maybe not working as well for folks with COVID and, you know, hopefully, that will help us contribute to the science of this disease,” she added.