Jake Tapper Laments Disappointing VA Covid-19 Study That Found More Deaths, No Benefit from Hydroxychloroquine: ‘This Is Crappy News’


A nationwide study of Covid-19 patients treated with the anti-malaria drug hyrdoxychloroquine offered highly disappointed results, CNN anchor Jake Tapper lamented on his Tuesday show, noting that it found no medical benefits and more deaths from taking the drug.

Tapper brought up the study, detailed in an Associated Press article published Tuesday afternoon, during a discussion with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The drug, which is also prescribed for for long-term treatment of lupus, has been frequently pressed into service by doctors as an experimental treatment for coronavirus patients.

“‘What do you have to lose?’, President Trump asked,” Tapper said at the start of the segment, alluding to one of Trump’s many moments touting the drug, which have included calling it a potential “game changer,” while offering his own huge, highly accurate caveats like: “What do I know, I’m not a doctor?”

“Well, today a new Veterans Health Administration study found no medical benefit to hydroxychloroquine when it comes to coronavirus patients and that it could actually be harming patients who take it,” Tapper explained. “Sanjay, this is crappy news, we all want this to work.”

“No doubt, we’re all looking for a therapy and hydroxychloroquine has been getting a lot of attention,” Gupta responded.

It’s not just the president who has been hailing the unproven drug, however. Fox News primetime hosts have rushed to champion it as a possible break-through therapeutic for Covid-19. Laura Ingraham has become hydroxychloroquine’s biggest cheerleader, taking her case (along with two of her show’s frequent medical guests) to the White House, while literally laughing off and insulting virus experts who dare to doubt the drug’s efficacy. Fellow Fox News host, Sean Hannity, has also promoted hyrdoxychloroquine on many occasions during the past two months, even citing small anecdotal examples of the drug’s use that lack any scientific rigor.

Throughout this campaign by Trump and the conservative media singing hydroxychloroquine’s praises, medical professionals like the Trump administration’s own infectious diseases chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have publicly expressed caution about the drug. Others have warned about its possible harmful, if not fatal, side effects, even when given under doctor-supervised, off-label usage.

This is a study of some 368 patients, still a small study, Jake. We’re going to get large data studies, so we have to take all these studies with a grain of salt. This one was not peer-reviewed, it was not randomized. Nevertheless, exactly what you said, Jake, the patients who in this study got hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, that’s the Z-Pak, the antibiotic, did worse,” Gupta said, summarizing the details of the study. “They had a 22 percent death rate as compared to patients who didn’t get those medications, who had an 11.4 percent death rate. So it doesn’t look very promising, you know? This is another study among a drumbeat of studies now, again, all of them pretty small, we’re still waiting for the larger studies, but if you look at France, you look at Brazil, you look at Sweden, you’re hearing similar things.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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