United States trade adviser pits himself against Fauci over unproven coronavirus drug

Coronavirus Donald Trump warns of'retaliation if India refuses hydroxychloroquine supply

"Your heart could stop".

Peter Navarro, the U.S. trade adviser overseeing the implementation of the Defense Production Act amid the coronavirus crisis, has acknowledged reports of a heated exchange with Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious diseases expert, about the wisdom of using an anti-malarial drug to fight Covid-19.

While Fauci has been publicly skeptical of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, citing a lack of scientific evidence at this stage, Trump spent much of Sunday's briefing telling Americans they have little to lose by trying the drug and even appeared to block Fauci from answering a question about it.

"I think you see the return to normalcy when we have an approved rapid testing program that can be brought to scale, Cuomo told a daily briefing on the coronavirus response".

Some of the confusion around hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 stems from small, uncontrolled studies and the work of professor Didier Raoult in France.

He said it would be a shame "if we didn't turn to these drugs early, if it turns out they are helpful".

"That's not inconsistent with the idea of using it, as they do in all 11 hospitals in the NY health and hospital system, as a therapeutic at this time when we are in, basically at war with [the] virus", he said.

"I have two words for you: Second opinion", Navarro replied. "We can not abdicate our role as a global player", said government sources. He touted it again on Sunday, adding "But what do I know?"

He said to Fox & Friends on Friday: "We've got to be careful that we don't make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug".

In a joint statement on March 25, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said "there is no incontrovertible evidence to support off-label use of medications for COVID-19". As long as the pandemic is raging, the government plans to monitor the exports of the two key drugs.

Larger, more rigorous studies are underway now.

In the U.S., there are more than 337,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 9,600 deaths. The society's president wrote on its website that the report "does not meet the society's expected standard", especially for explaining what patients were included and excluded, and how their safety was ensured. He also claimed some on the frontlines were taking the drug as a prophylactic. When CNN's Jeremy Diamond asked Fauci to comment on the matter Sunday night, Trump stepped in and didn't allow Fauci to answer.

This is not a drug to take outside a doctor's supervision.

Among the loudest voices in the president's ear has been Giuliani, who has spoken to Trump about the drug and advocated it in interviews and his new podcast.

The same evening, reports emerged that Navarro got into a verbal fight with Fauci at a coronavirus taskforce meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday.

"I discussed it with the president after he talked about it", Giuliani said. "I told him what I had on the drugs".

However, the Indian Commerce Ministry put a complete ban on the export of medicine and raw materials after a request was made by US President Donald Trump on Saturday.

Right now, India's confirmed cases are far less than the world's worst-affected countries and Indian companies can fill the global supply gap.

The jump in demand for the drugs has meant in some instances that patients who rely on hydroxychloroquine for lupus or other conditions are seeing their supplies diverted for COVID-19.

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