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by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 23, 2020) —During the 8:00 AM EDT hour of “Fox & Friends,” co-host Jedediah Bila reported that President Trump will be giving a press conference at 6:00 PM EDT Sunday to announce a new therapeutic development in the battle against the novel coronavirus.
Late Saturday evening, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany characterized the news as a “major therapeutic breakthrough” and stated that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn “will be in attendance.”
On Saturday, Trump tweeted his frustration with the FDA for allegedly “making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.” Trump explained his observation with, “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd,” directing the tweet to Hahn, who he has frequently praised.
After making her announcement, Bila interviewed Fox News Medical Contributor Dr. Marc Seigel, who said that recently “the FDA delayed an emergency use authorization on convalescent plasma. Now that’s the plasma or the antibodies that you get when you’re getting over COVID-19, and the fact is that those type of antibodies have been used for over 100 years successfully for other diseases and a study out of Houston Methodist with 300 patients published in The Journal of Pathology just showed a dramatic impact at keeping people alive longer.”
He speculated that “those antibodies could be on the table” as well as others such as “stem cell” treatment and a “steroid spray that may help early in the process.”
“I think it was eyebrow-raising that the FDA did not issue an Emergency Use Authorization on the antibodies,” Seigel continued, although he said he did not know if that is the subject to be discussed this evening.
Early on in the pandemic, Trump touted what he said were very positive indications about hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19, and in March, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its use in hospital settings for battling the disease. However, in mid-June, the agency rescinded the EUA, reporting that it did not find the drugs efficacious in treating the virus. A number of doctors disagree and claim that potentially life-saving treatment has been withheld by failing to administer hydroxychloroquine, possibly in combination with azithromycin, zinc, and other supplements, to those afflicted.
Journalist Sara A. Carter claims that because Trump expressed optimism about the drug, “it became 2020’s dirty word.”
The FDA now warns that serious side effects from hydroxychloroquine could be experienced by hospitalized COVID-19 patients, although the drug has been FDA-approved for use against malaria and lupus for decades.
Despite the media’s pushback against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, some positive reports from clinical trials have emerged.
Last Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reported that approximately “600” drugs to treat the coronavirus will soon be available.
The Trump administration, under its “Operation Warp Speed” announced earlier this year, hopes to have one or more safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 by the end of the year or early 2021.