BALTIMORE (WJZ) — This week, President Donald Trump said he’s been taking the controversial anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, for nearly two weeks.

He added that he hasn’t had any symptoms associated with COVID-19, CBS News reports.

“There’s a very good chance this has an impact, especially early on,” President Trump said.

Last month, the FDA warned about taking the drug outside a hospital or clinical trial setting. They said it hasn’t been shown to be safe or effective.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Researchers at the University of Maryland are now in clinical trials to understand whether the drug can be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 inside households or on the frontlines.

Dr. Miriam Laufer is an expert on hydroxychloroquine, and the lead investigator in this study.

“This is a study that’s designed to look at whether low doses of hydroxychloroquine can prevent people who have been exposed to COVID infections from getting infection, or if they get the infection from getting severe disease,” Laufer said.

Researchers at the University of Maryland are monitoring up to a total of 4,000 people around the country.

Some are given hydroxychloroquine, while others are given a placebo. Then, they’ll be able to see the benefits of this drug and if there are any potential problems with it.

All of the participants are people who have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 patient.

“So far, the signs are really good,” Dr. Laufer said. “But we haven’t unblinded yet, to see the differences between the two groups.”

Dr. laufer said while there is now expanded access to testing, there are few treatments that impact the spread of coronavirus aside from isolation.

“It would be nice to have something else to offer to provide post-exposure prophylaxes,” Dr. Laufer said.

Dr. Laufer added this is not going to be the answer to stopping the spread of the virus, but could be a good tool to slow the spread and provide more opportunities for people to go on with their lives.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff

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