- Oracle is making its technology available to the Trump administration for clinical trials to find out if controversial malaria drugs can be used safely and effectively against COVID-19, a source told Business Insider.
- Trump has been criticized for statements endorsing malaria drugs even as medical experts stressed the need for clinical trials to make sure they are safe and effective.
- Oracle’s powerful database technology, which is used by many of the world’s biggest corporations, can play a critical role in testing the drugs.
- The move underscores the company’s close relationship with Trump, who has been endorsed by founder Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz. “Of companies with capabilities for such an effort, Oracle is the most likely to partner with the President,” Valoir analyst Rebecca Wettmenn told Business Insider.
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Oracle is stepping in to help the Trump administration figure out if the controversial drugs used for treating malaria should be used to fight COVID-19.
The Silicon Valley giant is making its technology platform available for clinical trials to test if the malaria drugs are indeed effective in treating the coronavirus, a source familiar with the situation told Business Insider.
Oracle is the leading provider of enterprise technology, including sophisticated database systems, used to store and manage information of some of the world’s biggest corporations and government agencies. These technologies could be critical in performing expedited clinical tests rapidly with high degrees of accuracy.
President Donald Trump has been criticized for publicly endorsing malaria drugs, led by chloroquine, for treating COVID-19. However, leading medical professionals, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Trump Administration’s key infectious-disease expert, cautioned that clinical tests are needed to make sure they are safe and effective.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any COVID-19 treatments. While Trump has repeatedly touted chloroquine by name at multiple recent press conferences, there are no reliable clinical results showing it is a safe and effective treatment against the disease.
Larger studies of hydroxychloroquine are now getting started in New York, the UK and elsewhere. Despite the absence of meaningful results, the buzz around the drug has been considerable with recent mentions by Trump and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Prescriptions have spiked, with pharmacies reporting shortages of the pills for lupus and arthritis patients who need the medication. Hydroxychloroquine prescription requests have increased more than 2,000% since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, according to data released Tuesday by Vizient, a medical-supply contractor.
Oracle has White House ties
Oracle’s decision to help the Trump administration underscores its close ties to the White House, compared to other major tech giants, said Valoir analyst Rebecca Wettemann.
“Of companies with capabilities for such an effort, Oracle is the most likely to partner with the President,” she told Business Insider.
Top Oracle executives, including founder Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz, have been criticized for their close ties to Trump. Recently, some Oracle employees protested Ellison’s decision to hold a fundraising dinner for Trump.
“There are a few companies that have the cloud computing capacity, database, and AI and analytics capabilities to support such an effort – Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, and IBM,” Wettemann said.
“Amazon is out for obvious reasons,” she said, referring to the public feud between Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Other tech giants appear to have “taken a more arms-length approach to supporting efforts while avoiding collaboration with the White House,” she added. Tech giants like Salesforce and ServiceNow have rolled out their own initiatives to fight the pandemic.
IDC President Crawfrod Del Prete said it is important that “companies like Oracle and others are stepping up to help.”
“The world is taking preventative measures at a huge cost which is critical,” he said. “But applying technology could speed the world’s ability to find a way to manage or cure this virus.”
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