DR. MEHMET OZ: But I tell you what caught me more about the press conference, there's actually pretty big news today about -- there was actually a paper that came out yesterday, but it was being discussed, but didn't seem to get the attention that I thought it would, which is this paper from France showing that the use an old drug, a malaria drug together with the Z-pak seems to dramatically impact on this virus, and that could be the biggest game changer of all that could alter whether we could ever become Italy.
DAVID ASMAN (GUEST HOST): I hope you were going to pronounce it, but I'll try hydroxychloroquine. Is that right?
OZ: That's very well done. Yes, hydroxychloroquine.
ASMAN: But the point is -- the point is, is that -- I don't mean to harp on the media because they are important medical issues, but the media was trying to develop a fight between the president and Dr. Fauci on this. Dr. Fauci had to come up and say, look, we don't have a fight. We are pretty much in agreement. The president has an opinion that he is optimistic about this. I am a little more laid back in terms of whether I'm optimistic or pessimistic, but we both agree on the essentials. Are you with the president in feeling optimistic about the results of this?
OZ: I'm optimistic. I actually think Dr. Fauci is, too, but he is a very disciplined leader. He is a wonderful scientist. I know him personally. He is doing what a good scientist would do, which is to say, hey, listen, we've got one study. He knows as well as anybody that there was earlier evidence from China and other countries where this has been used, but never studied. What he is saying is we need to actually do the real study that we would trust where you get patients and you randomize them the way we do it right. But that would take a long time.
And I'm pretty sure the council is going to say, for now, this is not allowed downside from repurposing these medications. Let's let physicians use it for the highest risk populations. But I'll give you the biggest fact of all. In this study, they shortened the amount of time that patients excreted the virus to six days. The norm is approaching 20 days. That completely changes the behavior of the virus, which means it may actually be more like a flu virus in its impact on us.
OZ: So still dangerous, but not as contagious. And that allows us a lot more freedom to manipulate how it behaves in our population.
ASMAN: By the way, one of the ways in which the president has really stimulated the economy enormously over the past three years is by cutting red tape, by getting rid of a lot of needless regulations.
Now, we've got to be careful with the FDA and other organizations that protect our health with regard to new medicines and everything. Are we cutting any corners that would make things more risky for people or are we doing exactly the right thing in trying to get these medicines to the pharmacist?
OZ: if you allow these medications to be prescribed on purpose for COVID- 19, then you're cutting a corner because we haven't studied it well enough. And normally the F.D.A. appropriately would say, hold on, guys. But I think everyone appreciates these are not normal times. And if a drug that's already been on the market for 65 years could be effective with treating a new virus, yes, there's some potential side effects. There are problems that sometimes arise. We know those. We use this drug commonly. But I think it's worth the chance.
OZ: And we should be doing the study starting today, literally today. And we'll know -- we'll know in six days. In the meantime, I suspect the taskforce is going to liberalize the use of these medications. We just have to make sure we have enough of it.
ASMAN: And the doctor, by the way, Dr. Fauci agreed with you that in fact, this drug has been tested so long over time and the negative effects are so de minimis, that it is time to really try it out in force.