President Trump met with a number of recovered coronavirus patients at the White House on Tuesday, including Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Mich), who thanked the president for his relief efforts.

Whitsett, a Lyme Disease survivor who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, said she was treated with hydroxychloroquine, which is also used to treat Lyme, malaria and lupus.

“Thank you for everything that you have done. I did not know that saying, ‘Thank you,’ had a political line,” Whitsett began. “I thought just saying, ‘Thank you,’ meant, ‘Thank you,’ and I do. I sincerely appreciate that because had you not brought this to the forefront of the HQ … I wouldn’t even be here to have this conversation with you.”

The Michigan representative added: “I was afraid for my life.”

Trump has touted the drug as a possible COVID-19 treatment since mid-March, when scientists and researchers said they would study if the drug could be used against the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any COVID-19 treatment, including hydroxychloroquine, and the National Institutes of Health is conducting a clinical trial to study whether the drug is a safe and effective therapy for the disease.

Side effects include possible heart complications, irreversible retinal damage and hearing changes, according to the FDA.

The administration announced on Monday that it is “taking steps to ensure that adequate supply of [hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate] is available for patients.”

Sanofi, a French company that produces hydroxychloroquine, has cautioned that hydroxychloroquine has “several serious known side effects” and tests are so far inconclusive over its safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19. It said that “while hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies, and the results may be positive or negative.”

Some pundits have criticized Trump for his positive exposure of the drug because he holds a small stake in Sanofi through a mutual fund. But his stake in the firm represents only 0.000003 to 0.00005 percent of Trump’s wealth, according to The Washington Post.

In an April 6 interview with The Detroit Press, Whitsett said it took “less than two hours” for her to start feeling the positive results of the drug, saying the drug’s popularity “has a lot to do with the president bringing it up.”

“He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority,” she told the outlet.

Whitsett told the president on Tuesday that she has lost several of her family members diagnosed with COVID-19 who were “turned away” from health care facilities several times, but her cousin and her cousin’s children, who also took hydroxychloroquine, survived the virus.

“I like Democrats, but especially this Democrat. She has a beautiful presence,” Trump said of Whitsett, adding, “I may have to cross party lines.”

Another recovered COVID-19 patient told Trump on Tuesday that after he took the drug, he saw an improvement in his symptoms “within 12 hours.”

All of the recovered patients who spoke with the president during the Tuesday meeting described symptoms and experiences that differed from person to person, highlighting the different forms the virus can take from one person to another.

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