Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth gave a hilarious response to a question on hydroxychloroquine at his press conference on Friday.
Trump’s favourite virus drug was spruiked in parliament on Thursday by Coalition MP Craig Kelly, who controversially said “groupthink” and the ”complete abandonment of reason” were driving a ”war” on hydroxychloroquine.
But Mr Coatsworth said Australians know “which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19”.
Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has said the drug – which has been labelled “potentially harmful” by the country’s peak COVID research body – “doesn’t work”.
Mr Coatsworth backed him up on Friday.
“With regards to the comments made in parliament on hydroxychloroquine, I think Australians are very clear on which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19 and that is Paul Kelly,” he said.
“Paul Kelly, like myself, like all clinicians around Australia, understands that regrettably hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19.
“While I understand why there are many Australians out there looking for a solution, we have solutions come across our desk literally every day and have to work whether they are or they aren’t effective.”
Mr Coatsworth said if the drug, which is used to treat malaria and lupus, was effective at treating COVID-19 they would use it.
“I believe we have tonnes of hydroxychloroquine in this country, which was really generously donated by Clive Palmer, early on in the pandemic where there was a possibility hydroxychloroquine would be useful,” he said.
“Now, there are no circumstances where we, as government, or clinicians, would sit on several tonnes worth of hydroxychloroquine in the national medical stockpile if it were useful for COVID-19. We would be giving it to patients right now.
“But unfortunately it’s not — the trials are very clear on that.
“And in fact the World Health Organisation pulled hydroxychloroquine from one of its trial arms because the evidence was so clear that it was not effective. Now, that doesn’t happen very often and it only happens when it’s clear there’s no benefit at all from the treatment.
“So, regrettably, hydroxychloroquine is not the answer.”
He said the country’s peak coronavirus research body, the National COVID Evidence Taskforce, was on the case when it came to finding safe and effective treatments for the disease.
“We’ve got the best evidence for treatment at the moment and we’ll continue to communicate that to the Australian people.”