(ABC News) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has administered hydroxychloroquine to some 1,300 American veterans who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.
In response to Schumer’s questions in a letter sent earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie wrote that around 13% of the more than 10,000 veterans currently being treated for COVID-19 at VA medical facilities have been given the antimalarial drug so far. That includes residents of the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook, New York, which has one of the highest number of reported coronavirus-related deaths of any nursing home on Long Island.
Wilkie wrote in his letter, which the New York Democrat released to the press Friday, that more veterans are set to receive hydroxychloroquine as part of previously unannounced clinical trials.
“What the information presented to me by the VA shows is that the original VA study on hydroxychloroquine that everyone was concerned over is really just the beginning,” Schumer said in a statement. “What I am able to say today is that more than 1,000 vets have been given hydroxychloroquine, a clinical trial is set to launch in California and other states that could begin as soon as next week. Why did we not know this until now? What happened to the 1,300 vets who took this drug so far and where will the next trials take place. We need these answers and we need them now.”