AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says about 30 nursing home residents near Houston who tested positive for the coronavirus are receiving treatment with an anti-malaria drug not yet officially approved for fighting COVID-19.

Abbott’s announcement that hydroxychloroquine was being used on patients at a Texas City nursing home appeared to be the first time the governor has mentioned the drug as a treatment in Texas since the coronavirus crisis began.

Galveston County health officials announced last week that more than 80 residents and staff members at The Resort at Texas City tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Abbott said many of the patients given hydroxychloroquine were in their second day of treatment.

President Donald Trump has promoted the drug as he grasps for ways to sound hopeful in the face of a mounting death toll and with the worst weeks yet to come for the U.S. But medical officials warn that it’s dangerous to be hawking unproven remedies, and even Trump’s own experts have cautioned against it.

Some limited studies have been conducted on the use of hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin in concert to treat COVID-19, but they have not included critical control groups that scientists use to validate the conclusions.



It was not immediately clear who authorized the drug use for the Texas nursing home patients. Abbott did not offer his own thoughts on the drug Monday, only that it was being used in Texas City. He promised future updates on “how this drug is aiding or not.”

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