U.S. President Donald Trump again promoted the use of an untested drug on Sunday (April 5) - to treat the novel coronavirus.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "What really do we have to lose?
We also have this medicine's been tested for many years for malaria and for lupus, so it's been out there." Sources told Reuters on Sunday Trump began pressing health officials in mid-March to make malaria drugs such as hydroxychloroquine available even though the drugs have not had clinical trials to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Trump's call for action came after Fox News reported March 16 on a small French study highlighting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.
On Sunday Trump said there was no time to waste in trying out the drug a day after saying that he would even be willing to try it out himself.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "But we don't have time to go and say, gee let's take a couple of years and test it out, and let's go and test with the test tubes and the labortores.
We don't have time.
I'd love to do that, but we have people dying today.
As we speak, there are people dying.
If it works, that would be great.
If it doesn't work, we know for many years, malaria, it's incredible what it's done for malaria." The president's efforts could change the nature of drug oversight, a field usually governed by strict rules, science and testing.
He also expressed hope on Sunday that the United States was seeing a quote 'leveling-off' of the coronavirus crisis.
His comments came the same day top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News Americans should brace for the hardest week yet in the country's ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
However, when asked by one reporter Sunday to weigh in on the use of malaria drugs to battle COVID-19, Fauci was stopped in his tracks.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, SAYING: "Would you weigh in on the issue of hydroxychloroquine?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "You know how many times he's answered that question?
Maybe 15 times." (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, SAYING: "He's your top medical expert." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "He's answered that question 15 times."