Can He Do That?

A president’s push for an unproven cure

April 09, 2020, 10:39 pm • 32m

As the country continues to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus, many are desperately in search of answers, solutions and treatment options.In search himself, for something of a cure, President Trump has repeatedly touted one particular drug as the likely savior for covid-19 patients: hydroxychloroquine.At this point, hydroxychloroquine is an unproven treatment for covid-19. It’s still in the testing stages as a treatment for the virus, it can have dangerous side effects for some, and medical professionals are divided on its likelihood of success.Yet none of those factors have stopped the president from advocating that people infected with the novel coronavirus consider taking this drug, in consultation with their doctors.Many doctors and scientists advising Trump have advocated that he exercise more caution in talking about the drug’s potential promise. But others inside the White House — and on Fox News — have been influencing Trump, offering him anecdotal evidence of the drug’s success.Meanwhile, clinical trials for this particular use of hydroxychloroquine and clinical trials for other potential treatments for covid-19 are being expedited in a time of crises. These trials would usually take quite a long time, years even.On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, Mark Gladwin of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explains the risks when clinical trials move quickly — and whether they outweigh the potential benefits. Plus, national political reporter Robert Costa offers insight into the president’s actions as Americans are desperate for a cure.Additional coronavirus resources:washingtonpost.com/virusnewsletterwashingtonpost.com/coronaviruswashingtonpost.com/podcastsRelated episodesStates are competing for life-saving medical equipment. Who decides where it goes?The U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

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