Update – News
After Hydroxychloroquine, Trump Is Now Seeking To Get Another Unproven Drug Approved By The FDA: Report
President Donald Trump, who has previously touted antimalarial drugs as unproven treatments for Covid-19, is now reportedly seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for an extract from the oleander plant—another remedy with weak scientific backing—to be used to treat the coronavirus after being endorsed by a member of his cabinet and Trump-supporting MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell, Axios reports.
Trump’s reported endorsement of the extract oleandrin, more commonly used to treat heart conditions and asthma, follows a meeting at the Oval Office in July, during which he was told about it by Lindell.
Lindell, who, according to Axios, has a stake in Phoenix Biotechnology, the firm that makes the product, is reported to have said that at the meeting Trump had said: “The FDA should be approving it.”
This is despite limited evidence in a non-peer-reviewed study that oleandrin can inhibit the virus in test-tube experiments, while Phoenix Biotechnology director, Andrew Whitney, told Axios that the drug has been tested as a coronavirus cure on humans, but results are yet to be published.
Whitney, who is also seeking FDA approval to get oleandrin sold as a dietary supplement, has previously claimed that the botanical extract can cure the virus in two days, despite a lack of clinical trials or evidence.
As well as Lindell, Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was also in the meeting to promote the drug to Trump, with his presence justified because of his role in the administration’s coronavirus task force, a member of Carson’s team said.
Meanwhile, the race continues to find a cure or vaccine for coronavirus, which has so far infected 5.4 million Americans and led to the deaths of 170,000 people in the U.S..
There is currently no cure for coronavirus. A coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca looks to be leading the vaccine race, with early-stage clinical trials last month showing that the virus appears to be safe. Russia last week claimed it had become the first in the world to grant regulatory approval for coronavirus vaccine “Sputnik-V”, despite experts raising safety concerns.