Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who spent weeks endlessly promoting the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus cure, downplayed data on Wednesday night that found another antiviral drug has shown actual promise as a treatment.
Noting that top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci declared on Wednesday that results from a National Institutes of Health study into the Ebola drug remdesivir show a “clear-cut positive effect in diminishing time to recover,” Ingraham said that while it “certainly sounds encouraging” she’s not sure why Fauci wasn’t as bullish on hydroxychloroquine.
She went on to question the safety of remdesivir, which has been through numerous clinical trials over the years as an Ebola treatment. “We don’t know,” she stated. “It hasn’t been approved by the FDA. They might do emergency authorization. Hydroxychloroquine was approved decades ago.”
She also wondered aloud about remdesivir’s cost-effectiveness, insisting it is expensive and will be hard to scale up for production. As for hydroxychloroquine, Ingraham helpfully explained that it is “cheap and already widely available.”
Ingraham then welcomed on frequent guest Dr. Ramin Oskui, who she recently brought with her to the White House to sell President Donald Trump on hydroxychloroquine. Grumbling that the NIH results on remdesivir haven’t been peer-reviewed yet, Ingraham conceded that the initial analysis shows the drug cuts down on coronavirus recovery time.
Oskui, meanwhile, compared the remdesivir trial to a recent hydroxychloroquine study conducted by controversial French doctor Didier Raoult, claiming they both used similar-sized groups of patients. Oskui, however, added that while the anti-malarial drug showed a “very favorable safety profile,” he was concerned that remdesivir may not be as safe due to “its history with Ebola.”
The NIH trial, however, was a double-blinded study that used a placebo group and was carried out in 68 sites around the world. Preliminary findings show that severely ill patients who received remdesivir left the hospital after 11 days compared to 14 in the control group. They also experienced a smaller mortality rate (8 percent) compared to the placebo group (11.9 percent).
Ingraham also highlighted a recent report in which Turkish officials claim they have used hydroxychloroquine to keep the coronavirus death toll down in the country, while applauding the country for only implementing limited lockdowns, saying they have “among the best mortality rates in Europe.”
As CBS News reported, though, there are widespread concerns that the official death count in Turkey is severely underestimated. (Interestingly, Ingraham has been extremely critical of media outlets taking China’s reported death toll at face value.)
Ingraham, along with other Fox News stars, touted hydroxychloroquine for nearly a month as a potential miracle cure with “Lazarus”-like effects. The network, along with President Donald Trump, backed away from hyping hydroxychloroquine in mid-April after several studies showed the drug had no real benefits in treating coronavirus.