US President Donald Trump said he will “slash red tape like nobody has even done it before” in a bid to get unapproved coronavirus treatments to patients faster and identify effective drugs.
At a White House coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Trump told reporters that a drug currently used as an antimalarial -chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine -would be made available almost immediately to treat coronavirus.
“It’s been around for a long time so we know if things don’t go as planned it’s not going to kill anybody,” Trump said.
“We have to remove every barrier or a lot of barriers that were unnecessary and they’ve done that to get the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments and we think we have some good answers,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved “compassionate use” for the drugs to a “significant number” of patients.
“If treatments known to be safe in Europe, Japan or other nations are effective against the virus, we’ll use that information to protect the health and safety of American people,” Trump concluded.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the U.S. has “learned from our colleagues across the world about this.”
As for a timeline, Hahn said, “over the next couple of weeks, we’ll have more information that we’re really pushing hard to try to accelerate… and that will be a bridge to other therapies that will take us three to six months to develop. And this is a continuous process — there is no beginning and end.”
More than 10,000 cases have now been confirmed in the U.S. and at least 150 people have died.