Watch CBS News

Max Minute: Can Hydroxychloroquine Help Coronavirus Patients?

By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In the race to find a treatment for the coronavirus, there's a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration about a medication that many were looking at as a possible cure.

There have been literally dozens of drugs and treatments tried against this novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19 -- everything from nitric oxide to asthma drugs, antivirals and an arthritis medication.

But none have gotten as much attention as the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine.


With no proven treatments for COVID-19, many hospitals and physicians have been trying off-label uses of hydroxychloroquine or its cousin chloroquine, sometimes with the antibiotic azithromycin, and sometimes with zinc.

There are also a handful of ongoing controlled clinical trials with these drugs.

Reported results from these wildly varying trials and uses have ranged from "it's a lifesaver" to "it's a dangerous drug."

Now, the FDA has weighed in with a strongly worded statement, saying that there is no proof that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine can help coronavirus patients and that they should only be used in clinical trials or hospitals where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems.

Both the chloroquines and azithromycin can disrupt the heart rhythm and have led to death in some cases.

In other words, the FDA is telling doctors and patients... don't try this at home!

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

In another attempt at finding an effective COVID-19 treatment, President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that because disinfectants can kill the coronavirus on surfaces and in the air that perhaps there was a way to try that in the body "by injection or something."

That immediately spurred doctors, lawmakers and social media to respond with disbelief, pointing out that such use is dangerous and could even be fatal. Even the manufacturer of Lysol, one of the disinfectants mentioned in the White House briefing, released a statement saying: "Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body through injection, ingestion or any other route."

The lesson here is that this pandemic will not be easily conquered and whether it's disinfectants or unproven medications, you must be cautious and skeptical about what advice you listen to.

Science and scientists will win out, but it may take a while.

For the top questions people have been asking about the coronavirus, visit, and go to to submit your question.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.