The CIA warned employees against using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus without a prescription
Medical staff at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, France show packets of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine GERARD JULIEN AFP/File

President Donald Trump and one of his top economic advisers, Peter Navarro, have been aggressively touting hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus — which, according to researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 120,900 people worldwide (including over 23,600 in the United States and at least 20,465 in Italy and 18,056 in Spain). But Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is part of Trump’s coronavirus task force, and Navarro had a heated argument in the White House Situation Room over the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine — which, Fauci has stressed, still needs a lot of research where COVID-19 is concerned. And according to the Washington Post, some leaders at the Central Intelligence Agenda (CIA) share Fauci’s view.

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett is reporting that on March 27, a CIA website for employees warned that hydroxychloroquine (which has been used to treat malaria) could have dangerous side effects. On that website, according to Barrett, a CIA representative asserted, “At this point, the drug is not recommended to be used by patients except by medical professionals prescribing it as part of ongoing investigational studies. There are potentially significant side effects, including sudden cardiac death, associated with hydroxychloroquine — and its individual use in patients needs to be carefully selected and monitored by a health care professional.”

In boldface, the CIA added, “Please do not obtain this medication on your own.”

That March 27 post was added after an employee inquired about possibly taking  hydroxychloroquine without a prescription. A CIA spokesman, according to Barrett, declined to comment on those internal communications.

Barrett notes that in Brazil, a recent study of hydroxychloroquine was “halted early because a number of test subjects developed dangerous heart problems.”

During a recent appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Fauci was asked about hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19 and responded, “The data are really just, at best, suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there’s no effect. So I think, in terms of science, I don’t think we could definitively say it works.”