The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says no antimalarial drugs have been officially approved to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19.
President Trump had on Thursday held up chloroquine, an older drug used to treat malaria and arthritis as possible treatments for the coronavirus.
Trump also said that remdesivir, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences to treat the Ebola virus that was unsuccessful, was “essentially approved” to treat COVID-19.
But FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn walked back Trump’s remarks minutes later, saying the agency will still have to conduct a clinical trial to determine whether chloroquine is a safe and effective coronavirus treatment and at what dosage.
Hahn also suggested that both products would only be available through some of the FDA’s current protocols until they were formally approved.
Remdesivir is currently being tested in patients in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States and China, and Hahn said he hoped clinical trials would be pursued to find out if hydroxychloroquine is effective.