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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Trump says potential COVID-19 treatment drugs won’t have to be approved by FDA

Official White House Photo D. Myles Cullen
President Donald Trump at a Feb. 29 press conference about the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump suspended restrictions on possible COVID-19 treatment drugs and said they will not have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being used a move Trump said will cure those with the virus faster. 

As of Thursday, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States have risen to 10,000. In Massachusetts, 328 have been reported; 51 of which are within Suffolk County.

“I have directed the FDA to eliminate rules and bureaucracy so that this work can proceed rapidly, quickly and I mean fast,” Trump said during a press conference Thursday morning“We have to remove every barrier [to] get the rapid deployment of safe effective treatments, and we think we have some good answers.”

Doctors within the U.S. are now legally able to prescribe a drug they think is medically appropriate to treat the novel coronavirus, according to Bloomberg

Regardless of the long term effects of the drug, the American public now have access prior to FDA approval of specific drugs. Clinical trials for antiviral therapy drugs regarding COVID-19 have already started.

This could effectively combat the disease or provide a false sense of hope, according to FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn.

We need to make sure that [during] this sea of new treatments we’ll get the right drug to the right patient at the right dosage at the right time,” Hahn said. However, the right drug may be available, just not in the right dosage, “and that may do more harm than good.”

There are already a number of possible drugs being considered to combat the novel virus. 

Drugs such as remdesivir, an antiviral therapy, were mentioned by Trump during the press briefing as a potential treatment. So far, two patients who have received remdesivir have felt better, despite the drug only being used in clinical trials. Results of its effectiveness are expected next month from trials being conducted at the Providence Regional Medical Center.

“Remdesivir is an investigational antiviral with limited data. At this time, it is not approved anywhere globally and has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use,” said the creator of the drug, Gilead Sciences, in a statement.

Other drugs such as chloroquine, known best as an antimalarial drug, are also being considered as a way to fight the virus, according to NBC News. Trump said at the press conference that chloroquine was approved for general use regarding treatment for COVID-19. However, an FDA spokesperson said the drug has not been approved for use on COVID-19 patients.

Another option that has been proposed is the use of anti-inflammatory drugs that treat rheumatoid arthritis. The pharmaceutical firm Roche is in talks with the FDA for clinical trials after it was used in China as a way to lessen effects of the coronavirus in patients there.

Researchers are also looking to use convalescent plasma treatments, or using blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, to look for a possible cure. These methods were used to fight Ebola in 2014 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2004, according to NBC news and the World Health Organization (WHO).

As cases continue to increase in Boston, around the country and globally, students and the general public are encouraged to practice good hygiene by using social distancing, going into self quarantine, washing your hands and seeking medical care when necessary, according to WHO.

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About the Contributors
Katelyn Norwood, News Editor | she/her
Katelyn is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in journalism. When this Massachusetts native is not typing up a storm, you can find her dog watching in the Boston Common, working at Suffolk Performing Arts, and passionately talking about the latest political issue with a hot chai latte. One day Katelyn hopes to be working on the editorial side of the magazine or media industry. She has completed interning with HGTV as an editorial intern. Follow Katelyn on Twitter @katelyn_norwood Email her at [email protected]
Dani Webber, News Editor | they/them
Daniel is a junior pre-law major with a journalism minor at Suffolk University. When they aren’t writing, you can find them walking on the beach, thrifting or watching the dogs play in Boston Common. In the future, they hope to be a paralegal and author. Follow Dani on Twitter @MolWebber Email them at [email protected]

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Trump says potential COVID-19 treatment drugs won’t have to be approved by FDA