President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday qualified the Marseilles professor Didier Raoult, strongly criticized for his studies on the treatment of Covid-19, of “great scientist”, estimating that the bi-therapy concocted by this specialist in infectious diseases ” be tested “.
“The bi-therapy that Professor Raoult offers, it must be tested,” said Macron in an interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI). “We have to move forward, show efficiency and measure toxicity”.
This while being “very careful”, continued the head of state.
He paid a surprise visit last week to Mr. Raoult, who claims the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – a derivative of chloroquine, a drug against malaria – in the biotherapy treatment of the new coronavirus.
But these conclusions are not unanimous among specialists: epidemiologists criticize the absence of a control group receiving a placebo and a bias, study participants with less severe forms of the disease.
“It is not a question of belief, it is a question of scientist. I am convinced that he is a great scientist, and I am passionate by what he says and what he explains”, noted Emmanuel Macron on RFI, saying that Mr. Raoult was “really one of our greatest authorities on the subject”.
“My duty is that all the therapeutic approaches pursued today can be the subject of rigorous clinical trials and as quickly as possible so that a treatment can be found,” he continued, stressing that his ” role “consisted in ensuring that Professor Raoult’s research” fit well within the framework of a clinical trial protocol “.
It was also about “looking with methods that must be simple but rigorous if it worked or it did not work”.
And Professor Raoult “invites us to be humble,” noted Mr Macron, “because he himself says that things can vary according to seasons and geographies, and that a virus reacts to an ecosystem”.
Four months after the virus appeared in China, the pandemic killed nearly 125,000 people worldwide, including 15,729 dead in France. The United States is the most affected country, with 25,757 deaths in more than 600,000 cases.