Republican Governor Kristi Noem announced Monday that South Dakota will run a statewide trial of hydroxychloroquine, the first of its kind in the union.
Hydroxychloroquine, a drug often used to treat malaria and touted by President Donald Trump as possible coronavirus “game changer,” has been praised by hundreds of doctors and patients as a therapeutic against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
“Noem said South Dakota will be the first state to run a state-wide trial to test hydroxychloroquine,” The Washington Times reported Monday. “There are several other trials being conducted elsewhere. She explained that the state’s three largest health care providers will conduct a trial with 2,000 people. Every participant can choose if they want to take part.”
“The governor said she pushed the White House last week to provide enough hydroxychloroquine to give it to every hospitalized person, others who are vulnerable to the coronavirus and ‘front line’ health care workers,” the report noted. “She said state funds will be used to sponsor the trial, but did not say how much she plans to pitch in.”
The study will be conducted by Sanford Health. The company’s chief medical officer Allison Suttle said possible side effects of the treatment “could include nausea or fatigue, but did not list anything more severe,” the Times said. “A press release from Sanford said there can be serious side effects from the drug, but they are rare.”
The drug received emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month after President Trump suggested a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could be promising or possibly a “game changer” in the fight against COVID.
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” the president posted to Twitter on March 21. “The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You!”
“Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…..be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!” he added.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
As noted by The Daily Wire on Tuesday, Governor Noem was criticized by The Washington Post, under their “news” section, for refusing to issue a statewide lockdown. The Republican contends South Dakota residents are acting responsibly and social distancing appropriately and that the lockdown measure is an unnecessary step that will cause more harm than good to the state.
“Our constitution ensures that the citizen’s right is protected,” Noem told reporters last week. “I agree with the role of our government as set forth in our state and in our national constitution. I took an oath to uphold these constitutions.”
“My role with respect to public safety is something I take very seriously,” she continued. “The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety. They are the ones that are entrusted with expansive freedoms – they are free to exercise their rights to work, worship, and play – or to stay at home, or to conduct social distancing.”
“The calls to apply a one-size-fits all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership,” Noem stated.