President Donald Trump tells the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to study whether an existing cure for malaria can also treat the coronavirus.
To date, there is no coronavirus treatment found yet. U.S. health officials revealed that finding a vaccine ready for public use requires 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, some scientists claimed that anti-malaria drug chloroquine could be used to counter the coronavirus.
It is important “not to provide false hope,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn emphasized during a daily press briefing on the coronavirus at the White House. He added that Trump has “asked us to be aggressive” and “break through exciting, life-saving treatment, and we’re doing that at the FDA.”
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated that there is “no proof” the drug can effectively treat people infected by the virus.
However, Trump believes that the U.S. could make the anti-malaria drug available “almost immediately” and that “it’s been approved.”
After his announcement, reports surfaced that the FDA had not approved chloroquine as treatment for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the government’s economic stimulus proposal would cover $500 billion for direct payments to Americans.
The funds would be split into two large tranches, each giving $1,000 per person and $500 per child. This means that a family of four could get $3,000, Mnuchin said in an interview wsith Fox Business Network.
“As soon as Congress passes this, we get this out in three weeks. And then, six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we’ll deliver another $3,000,” Mnuchin said.
The national government also asked Congress to release an additional $45.8 billion to address unexpected costs incurred by agencies managing the crisis.
Hahn, the head of one of those agencies, emphasized the FDA is “committed to continuing to provide regulatory flexibility and guidance.”
“We’re looking at everything that’s coming across our desks as possible treatment options,” Hahn said.