- President Trump first heard about using the the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus during a call with Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, according to The New York Times.
- Trump has gone on to tout the drug as a treatment for the disease, despite the lack of peer-reviewed clinical data on the drug’s effectiveness.
- Ellison is one of Trump’s top supporters in the tech industry. He recently allowed Trump to use his California compound for a fundraiser and told Forbes he supports Trump.
- Ellison isn’t the only member of the tech industry to promote hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. Ellison’s “close friend” Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has also been a proponent of the drug on Twitter.
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President Donald Trump has become an advocate of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus, and it appears he may have first heard about it from a surprising source: Oracle cofounder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison.
Trump has recently been promoting the drug, which is typically used to treat malaria patients, as a possible cure for the virus after discussing it during a phone call with Ellison a few weeks ago, according to a new report from The New York Times’ Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich and Maggie Haberman.
Ellison, who is the world’s fifth-richest person with a net worth over $60 billion, is among Trump’s top supporters in the tech industry. Ellison recently allowed Trump to use his California compound for a fundraiser, and told Forbes in a recent interview that he supports Trump and wants him to do well.
Ellison is currently working on technology tools to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, which he also recently discussed on a call with Trump, according to Forbes.
So far, there is only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and a variant, chloroquine, work against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. There is no peer-reviewed clinical data proving the effectiveness of the drug so far, but Trump has repeatedly touted it, going as far as to say that he “may take” hydroxychloroquine.
Elon Musk — the CEO of Tesla, where Ellison is a board member — has also been promoting chloroquine over the past several weeks. Musk recently opened up about contracting malaria in 2000, saying he had a potentially fatal form of the disease that can affect the central nervous system or cause “acute respiratory distress,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Musk said he thinks chloroquine, which was used to treat his illness, would be effective in treating the novel coronavirus.
“Had near fatal case of falciparum,” Musk tweeted. “Would’ve died for sure if not for chloroquine. Doesn’t mean it works for C19, but maybe better than nothing.”
Musk and Ellison have been friends for years. When Ellison was named to Tesla’s board of directions in 2018, he highlighted his relationship with Musk, saying they are “very close friends.”
SEE ALSO: Larry Ellison said he supports Trump and wants him to do well: ‘I don’t think he’s the devil’
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