Coronavirus: ‘Troublesome’ spike in searches for unproven drugs endorsed by Donald Trump

Scientists have reported a “troublesome” spike in online searches for unproven coronavirus drugs endorsed by president Donald Trump. Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice An Arizonian man, reported to be in his sixties, died of a cardiac arrest after taking chloroquine. “We specifically wanted to know if people were looking to buy these drugs, instead of just looking to learn more about them,” said study author Dr John Ayers from The University California, San Diego. The scientists compared their results with a hypothetical scenario where there were no high-profile endorsements for the drugs, based on historical search trends. The research – published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine – revealed searches for chloroquine “purchasing” rose by 442%, while enquiries into sales for hydroxychloroquine went up a staggering 1,389%. “In absolute terms, we estimate there were more than 200,000 total Google searches for buying these two drugs in only 14 days following high-profile endorsements,” said Dr Mark Dredze from John Hopkins University. “This could be evidence that thousands of Americans were interested in purchasing these drugs.” Study author Michael Liu from the University of Oxford has warned Trump’s and Musk’s endorsements are “particularly troublesome” for three reasons. “This should be expanded to include warnings after searching for potential COVID-19 therapies so people can be directed to reliable information,” said Liu. “You can’t quickly put humpty dumpty back together again once you’ve broken him.” Following widespread criticism, the president claimed he was being sarcastic. “It would be disastrous to inject bleach or disinfectant into the body,” Professor Kim Barrett from the University of California, San Diego, said at the time. “In fact, a major medical emergency occurs if people drink bleach.  “It destroys cells that line the mouth, oesophagus and stomach (basically by chemically burning them) and results in bleeding, chest pain, coma and potentially death.” Professor Alastair Hay from the University of Leeds agreed, adding: “There is a good reason why containers of disinfectant, and bleach in particular, warn about the danger of ingestion: the chemicals are dangerous.  “The hypochlorous acid in bleach burns all tissue with which it comes into contact and causes profound inflammation.  “People who swallow bleach die horribly or are permanently scarred.