President Donald Trump touted a new study that suggested the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, lowered death rates in the U.S., while the W.H.O. announced they have shut down all trials of the drug.

Trump, who previously said in May he was taking the anti-malaria drug as a preventive measure and has constantly promoted the drug as a “game-changer” as a coronavirus treatment, tweeted a link to new Henry Ford Health System study that suggested the drug cut the death rate. Trump also accused the Democrats of politicizing criticism of hydroxychloroquine.

The Henry Ford study was published on Thursday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases and found that the sample of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 26% who were not treated with hydroxychloroquine died, while only 13% of those who were given hydroxychloroquine died.

Meanwhile, after the study was published, The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it had discontinued all hydroxychloroquine trials as they found no evidence that the drug reduced mortality rates. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration canceled its emergency approval for hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus drug on June 15, citing cardiac issues as side effects.

Dr. Steven Kalkanis, Henry Ford Health System’s chief academic officer, said that medical research should not be politicized when he commented on the recent study.

“We’re scientists, not politicians,” Kalkanis said. “We’ve never had a preconceived agenda with this study or any study regarding hydroxychloroquine. We simply wanted to use the resources and the opportunity of COVID, given that Detroit was such a hard-hit region, to find out which treatments worked and which treatment didn’t.”

Kalkanis added that he acknowledged that the study contradicted other research results on the drug but said it was important to show an alternative perspective.

“We fully realize that our study differs from others that are out there, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a point-counterpoint conflict,” he said. “You have to look at the specifics of the patient population and who benefited, and that helps everybody figure out how best to use a drug and to offer hope to people.”

He added that “much more work needs to be done to elucidate what the final treatment plan should be for COVID-19.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro also boosted the drug and accused media of contributing to the politicization of it.

“It’s the politicization of this medicine by mainstream media and portions of the medical community that have somehow made this a battle between President Trump and them and created this undue fear and hysteria over a drug that’s been used for over 60 years relatively safely and is regularly prescribed to pregnant women if they go into a malaria zone,” Navarro told reporters.


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