Dr. Vin Gupta, a critical care physician and lung health expert, said Wednesday night that he has seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s assertion that zinc — paired with other drugs — is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus.
During a Coronavirus Task Force briefing Wednesday evening, Trump said “you should add zinc” to any COVID-19 treatment regiment, suggesting that medical professionals have recommended the mineral supplement.
“I want to throw that out there because that’s where they seem to be having the best result,” said Trump, who has faced criticism for recklessly touting unproven coronavirus treatments. “So you add the zinc and the azithromycin, and it’s been — we’ve had a lot of good stories.”
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MSNBC cut in to the president’s briefing to get a response from Gupta, who said he found Trump’s comments about zinc “mystifying.”
“There’s no evidence I’ve seen in the literature suggesting zinc in addition to hydroxychloroquine would be helpful,” said Gupta, referring to an anti-malaria drug that Trump has repeatedly promoted during briefings and on Twitter.
WATCH: Dr. @VinGuptaMD responds to President Trump recommending zinc to treat coronavirus.
"The comments about zinc were mystifying. There's no evidence I've seen … suggesting zinc in addition to hydroxychloroquine would be helpful." pic.twitter.com/Zp0nGazbpX
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 8, 2020
It’s unclear where Trump got the idea that zinc could serve as an effective coronavirus treatment, but the claim has been making the rounds in viral Facebook posts and in right-wing media outlets like The Blaze.
In a column for Fox News last week, Dr. Manny Alvarez, an OB-GYN, echoed Gupta’s warning that there is no evidence showing zinc can combat COVID-19.
“Clearly, zinc has not shown to kill any common cold viruses, so therefore when it comes to the coronavirus, at the present time one has to be careful in thinking that zinc supplements can be the silver bullet that we are all looking for,” Alvarez wrote.