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Cuomo: Use of antimalarial drug in New York hospitals 'anecdotally' positive

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo says New York can begin to loosen restrictions: 'Don't get cocky with COVID' Disjointed vaccine distribution poses early test for Biden Three National Guardsmen killed after military helicopter crash in New York MORE (D) said Monday that early responses to the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine “anecdotally” suggest its use in the coronavirus fight has been “effective,” but that official data was still forthcoming.

Asked about the progress of the trials at his daily press briefing, Cuomo noted that state officials have allowed use of the drug in combination with the antibiotic Zithromax in hospitals “at their discretion.” He said the federal government would increase supplies to New York pharmacies, but that New York has imposed a 14-day limit to protect the supplies for people who rely on it to treat other medical conditions.

“The tests in the hospital, they’re too short a period of time to get a scientific report,” Cuomo said. “Hospital administrators, doctors want to have a significant data set before they give a formal opinion. Anecdotally, you’ll get suggestions that it has been effective. But we don’t have any official data yet from a hospital or a quote-unquote study, which will take weeks if not months.”

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“There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising; that’s why we’re going ahead,” he added, noting that some patients have a pre-existing condition or medication regimen that prevents them from taking it.

An increase in the supply from the federal government, Cuomo added, would allow New York to lift the 14-day restriction.

President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE has repeatedly promoted the drug as a treatment for the virus despite lack of approval by the Food and Drug Administration for that use in the long-term or comprehensive clinical trial data, although the agency has granted emergency approval for use with a prescription. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci was concerned people would do 'dangerous and foolish' things after Trump suggested injecting disinfectant GOP lawmaker wants to ban feds from funding collection of COVID-19 vaccine info Overnight Health Care: Biden says anyone who wants vaccine may be able to get it by spring | Moderna says vaccine effective on variants, but tests booster shot | California lifts regional stay-at-home order MORE have reportedly been at odds over whether to promote the drug as an effective treatment for the coronavirus.

"The data are really just, at best, suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there's no effect," Fauci said on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday. "So I think in terms of science, I don't think we could definitively say it works."