National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci on Wednesday became the first Trump administration official to say definitively that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus, based on the available data.
"The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy," Fauci — the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert — said on CNN.
But he stopped short of calling for an outright ban of the drug, which President Trump said he was taking last week as a preventative measure after a top White House aide was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Fauci's comments come days after the Lancet published a 96,000-patient observational study that concluded that hydroxychloroquine had no effect on Covid-19 and may have even caused some harm.
France decided this week to ban the use of hydroxychloroquine, even in clinical trials, and the WHO has paused its clinical trials of the drug.
There is no data yet from randomized, controlled clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine — the gold standard for evaluating potential treatments. But Fauci was unequivocal on Wednesday, saying that "the data are clear right now."