Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci refused to be baited by Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night when she appeared to try and get him to confess that he’d take an unproven drug touted by President Trump if he were stricken with coronavirus.
In recent days, President Donald Trump has described the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game changer” in treating the novel coronavirus. Fauci, however, has attempted to temper expectations of the drug’s effectiveness, noting that its promise as a treatment for the disease is purely “anecdotal.”
Ingraham, meanwhile, has been a loud proponent of the drug’s use and has repeatedly hyped it as a possible cure that can quickly stem the tide of the growing pandemic. Interviewing Fauci on her primetime show Tuesday, the pro-Trump host pressed the White House coronavirus task force member on whether he himself would use it.
“A lot of people are messaging me during the day about hydroxychloroquine and other antivirals that are now being prescribed by treating physicians in the United States and beyond,” she said. “So heaven forbid something happened to you, you got a positive coronavirus test and you fell ill, would you feel comfortable taking one of these new antivirals such as hydroxychloroquine?”
Fauci noted that he is a “believer in a clinical trial” and while he may want to “help myself” he also wants to “get an answer” on whether the drug is actually effective. (There are several clinical trials underway.)
“So I might take one of those drugs, but I would do it within the auspices of a controlled clinical trial,” he continued. “I’ve always felt that way.”
Ingraham continued to press, asking the doctor if he would take one of those drugs due to the “positive results” we are seeing, adding that “this is wartime” and not “all button-down and controlled” so, therefore, we “do what we can do with what we have.”
“I’m not so sure, Laura, just to clarify, that I would necessarily take one of those drugs,” Fauci replied. “I would take a drug that was on a clinical trial.”
He went on to let Ingraham know that it is possible that some of these drugs, like hydroxychloroquine, could probably be obtained by a physician “off-label” since they’re already approved to treat malaria and other diseases.
“But myself, personally, I like to get some knowledge out of it, so if I had a situation where I needed a drug, I’d look around and see if there was a clinical trial that would give me access within the contours of a clinical trial,” he concluded.
The exchange between Ingraham and Fauci comes as pro-Trump media, and reportedly Trump himself, have begun to turn on the universally admired National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director for publicly pushing back on Trump’s claims.
On Monday night, for instance, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs—currently in self-quarantine after a Fox staffer tested positive for COVID-19—insisted that the “president was right and frankly Fauci was wrong” on the anti-malarial drug.