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Italy Drug Agency Leader Warns of Anti-Malaria Drug Use

Αssociated press

A mural by street artist AleXandro Palombo depicting Pope Francis is painted on a wall in Milan, Italy, Thursday, May 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

ROME — The head of Italy’s pharmacological agency says there is little data about the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump to treat coronavirus.

Dr. Nicola Magrini offered a briefing on the various trials the Italian Pharmacological Agency had approved during the coronavirus crisis, including one involving hydroxychloroquine.

Magrini says while the drug was being used in Italy, the agency recommended it only in some patients, preferably on its own or in association with other drugs only in clinical trial settings.

While the science is still out on hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness, Magrini said: “We are fairly certain about the possible harm and absence of security of using it in some limited sub-groups of patients.”

Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to protect against the coronavirus, even though his administration has warned it can have deadly side effects.

Magrini adds he didn’t expect a vaccine before spring or summer of next year. Italian researchers are collaborating on the Oxford University vaccine.