President Trump and one of his top researchers offered different perspectives on whether an anti-malarial drug would be effective in treating the coronavirus — with Trump saying he believes the drug could be a “game-changer” and Dr. Anthony Fauci saying it still needs to undergo testing.

The exchange came during the daily White House briefing by Trump and the coronavirus task force over the drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested by the Food and Drug Administration.

“I am a fan of that [drug] and we’ll see what happens. I have seen things that are impressive. We’ll see. We’ll know soon. When you get to safety, this is prescribed for many years for people to combat malaria, which was a big problem,” Trump said.

“Everybody knows the level of the negatives and positives, but I will say that I am positive when it comes to particularly one of these drugs. We’ll see how it works. I am not saying it will but I think that people may be surprised. It is a game-changer. We’ll know very soon,” the president continued.

But when it was Fauci’s turn to comment, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said that while he shared the president’s positive outlook, the drug still needs to be tested specifically for coronavirus efficacy — echoing FDA chief Stephen Hahn’s comments the day before.

“What we don’t know … is whether it’s safe. I like to prove things first,” Fauci said.

President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House today.
President Trump listens as Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House today.AP

When Trump was asked about Fauci’s comment earlier in the day that there was no “magic drug” to treat coronavirus, he replied: “Maybe or maybe not. Maybe there is or maybe not.”

“It may work and it may not work. I agree with [Fauci]. It may work or may not. I feel good about it. Just a feeling. I am a smart guy, we’ll see soon enough.”