White House testing czar: 'I can't recommend' hydroxychloroquine

White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday that he “can't recommend” hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 in an apparent contradiction of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE’s support of the drug. 

Giroir, a Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that hydroxychloroquine “looked very promising” at first, but five studies have now found that the anti-malarial drug does not help COVID-19 patients. 

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At this point in time, there's been five randomized-controlled, placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine, so at this point in time, we don't recommend that as a treatment,” he said.  

“Right now, hydroxychloroquine, I can't recommend that,” he added. 

The testing czar also highlighted that steroids have shown a reduction in mortality by 30 percent and said research on immune plasma and vaccines is “promising.”

Giroir emphasized that hydroxychloroquine “needs to be prescribed by a physician” but said he doubted that most physicians would prescribe it.

“There may be circumstances — I don't know what they are — where a physician may prescribe it for an individual, but I think most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based, and they're not influenced by whatever is on Twitter or anything else,” he added. 

The HHS assistant secretary also called on the country to “move on from” hydroxychloroquine “and talk about what is effective” in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, such as wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor gatherings and washing your hands. 

Trump last week shared a video of physicians advocating for the use of hydroxychloroquine, calling it a cure for COVID-19. The president repeatedly defended his sharing of the video and has stood by his support of the drug after he took it himself earlier in the pandemic.