Despite President Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, the federal funding powerhouse led by Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t spending any money on it, and clinical trials for it are lagging behind other drug studies, according to a CNN investigation.
At a White House briefing last week, Trump said hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, shows “tremendous promise” of working against coronavirus as well.
“I think it’s going to be great,” he said. “We’re quickly studying this drug.”
But the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases isn’t sponsoring any studies on hydroxychloroquine, according to a statement from the agency, which added that the agency is “considering” trials that examine the drug or its analogue chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19. studies.
On its website, NIAID mentions several drug therapies it’s supporting to fight coronavirus, but not hydroxychloroquine.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, another federal agency, also lists its coronavirus measures on its website, but hydroxychloroquine is not among them.
Hydroxychloroquine clinical trials
Last month, a Chinese study theorized that hydroxychloroquine might work against coronavirus by preventing it from binding to human cells.
Trump was so positive about the drug that doctors started hoarding it, causing several states to implement strict regulations around prescribing the drug.
Despite this enthusiasm, a federal government registry for clinical trials shows only two trials in the US for hydroxychloroquine to fight coronavirus, and only one of those is up and running.
Boulware said he had to get funding from Silicon Valley tycoon David Baszucki for one part of his study, which looks at hydroxychloroquine to prevent development of the disease, and he still doesn’t have funding for the other part, which studies the drug as a treatment for infection.
“With all the money being spent on coronavirus, we should spend funds on medical research on how best to treat people and prevent new infections,” Boulware said.
The second study, at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is expected to begin enrollment this week and is currently not funded, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The Gates Foundation is expected to announce soon that it will be funding hydroxychloroquine research for coronavirus at the University of Washington and New York University, according to multiple sources.
Federal funding for other coronavirus treatments
Other treatments are getting federal funding, and their trials are underway at multiple sites.