French officials report heart incidents in experimental coronavirus treatments with hydroxychloroquine
France reported dozens of heart incidents linked to an anti-malaria drug President Trump has hyped as a possible treatment for the coronavirus.
Data released by France’s drug safety agency showed 43 cases of heart incidents linked to hydroxychloroquine, underscoring the risk of providing unproven treatments to COVID-19 patients.
“This initial assessment shows that the risks, in particular cardiovascular, associated with these treatments are very present and potentially increased in COVID-19 patients. Almost all of the declarations come from health establishments,” the agency said. “These drugs should only be used in hospitals, under close medical supervision.”
France has recorded 100 health incidents and four fatalities linked to experimental drugs for those with the coronavirus since late March. Three other patients had to be revived, and 82 incidents were considered “serious.”
The incidents were roughly evenly split between hydroxychloroquine and HIV antivirals lopinavir-ritonavir.
The report comes as Trump repeatedly touts hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus treatment, calling the drug a possible “game changer.”
However, health officials have expressed concerns over the drug, saying there’s no strong evidence it can be used for COVID-19.
“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective,” Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said this week. “We don’t operate on how you feel, we operate on what evidence and data is.”
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