"I think it gives you an additional level of safety, but you can ask many doctors are in favor of it and many frontlines won't go there unless they have the hydroxy..."
As President Donald Trump continues to defend his use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure, lawmakers and researchers are cautioning against the use of the malaria-fighting drug as a way to prevent people from contracting COVID-19.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday on the Senate floor condemned Trump for promoting the drug:
"Please, citizens of America, don't take hydroxychloroquine as a prevention for COVID. It is not - medical experts have said it is not. Remember it is risky."
Dr. Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton in England, said there had been limited laboratory-based evidence that showed the malaria-fighting drug could be effective in treating COVID-19 patients and there was nothing to indicate it had any ability to ward off the novel coronavirus.
"I think it is a little bit worrying when we have high profile people making recommendations for drugs that are not backed up by the evidence, because we do then see people going off to use or demand those drugs, and that does have knock-on problems. There will be extra side effects seen in populations from those drugs who are using them without a proper prescription."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned about potential serious side effects with the use of the drug in COVID-19 patients.
Trump on Tuesday was critical of a study that found the drug did not help COVID-19 patients and might pose a higher risk of death.
TRUMP: "If you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving ti to people that were in very bad shape. They were very old. Almost dead. It was a Trump enemy statement... and so again this is an individual decision to make, but it's had a great reputation and if it was somebody else other than me people would say 'gee, isn't that smart'"
HEAD: "There's a lot we don't know about hydroxychloroquine, particularly in relation to COVID-19. We know the drug does have side effects when used any way, so it can cause nausea and vomiting. It can give you problems with the heart. It can even cause in some rarer cases, seizures and delirium, as well. So it is not a drug without side effects."
The White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo that Trump was in "very good health" and had been receiving regular COVID-19 testing, which has all been negative.
Conley said quote:"After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks."