Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were two of the first celebrities to be diagnosed with Chinese coronavirus.
Now that they’re cured, Wilson sat down for an interview with CBS’s Gayle King to talk about her battle with the virus… and how a medication touted by President Trump helped her recover.
“I felt extremely achy, uncomfortable, didn’t want to be touched, and then the fever started,” Wilson explained to King. “Chills like I’ve never had before.”
“On day nine, they gave me chloroquine,” she continued. “And I know people have been talking about this drug, but I can only tell you that, I don’t know if the drug worked or if it was just time for the fever to break, but my fever did break.”
Chloroquine and its close variant, hydroxychloroquine, first came to public notoriety after President Trump touted the drug as a possible treatment during one of his daily press conferences.
The drugs have been used for decades to fight malaria. But in coronavirus cases across the world, doctors have seen patients rapidly recover after being prescribed the drug.
However, the drug has not gone through the rigorous scientific trials necessary to consider hydroxychloroquine as an official treatment for coronavirus. Right now, many doctors are prescribing the drug “off-label”–that is, for reasons other than its official intention (in this case, to combat malaria.)
Despite the positive signs, the drug has become a political touchstone, with Trump sustaining criticism from the left. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan even signed an executive order banning the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus, soon after Trump made his comments. The order was overturned, amid heavy criticism and growing stories about the drugs’ success in treating coronavirus.
But despite the drug aiding in her recovery, Wilson was quick to warn: based on her experience, it might be best as a last resort rather than a treatment for milder cases.
“But the chloroquine had such extreme side effects,” she warned. “I was completely nauseous and I had vertigo. I could not walk and my muscles felt very weak. I think people have to be very considerate about that drug.”