South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced plans to launch a statewide trial Monday to formally test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump — against the novel coronavirus.
The action makes South Dakota the first state in the nation to implement a trial to test the drug's effectiveness in treating and preventing COVID-19.
In order to collect data about the potential treatment, doctors in the state have been instructed to prescribe the drug, along with the antibiotic azithromycin, to willing COVID-19 patients who desire to be a part of the trial.
"From Day One, I've said we're going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making in South Dakota," Noem said in a statement, according to Fox News.
Noem said that she has been in cooperation with the federal government in preparation for the trial.
"I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have, as well as those for health care workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations," Noem said.
"Today, I'm pleased to report we have received the initial doses we need," she added.
President Trump has been optimistic about hydroxychloroquine since three separate studies showed it to be a potentially effective at treating and preventing the disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 in late March.
Health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have tempered the president's optimism, saying that proof of the drug's effectiveness is anecdotal.
"[Tests were] not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can't make any definitive statement about it," Fauci suggested, according to ABC News.
Now, South Dakota will attempt to scientifically settle that issue.