Professor Didier Raoult, controversial defender of the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat symptoms of covid-19, received a visit from President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday afternoon at the IHU in Marseille. While his trials have been criticized in the world of medical research, the Elysée is trying to trivialize this trip, explaining that Emmanuel Macron goes around all the treatments. But it is clear that the appointment does not go unnoticed.
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Wednesday, the head of state exchanged with the boss of the WHO. Thursday morning, he was at the Kremlin-Bicêtre hospital with Professor Delfraissy to come back to the INSERM Discovery study. "He is in contact with specialists," explains his entourage. No particular emphasis on this meeting, the President is well aware that Professor Raoult divides the scientific community as much as the political class and opinion.
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"This visit does not constitute validation of the treatment" declares to Europe 1 a member of Emmanuel Macron's cabinet. Before his intervention before the French on Monday, the president wants to take stock of all the prospects for treatment.
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Besides, there was no question of staging. All the President's trips on Thursday were made far from the cameras, journalists were not invited. The question of a possible political risk for the President arises: Professor Raoult is one of the most controversial figures of the moment and his treatment with hydroxychloroquine generates "fake news" and conspiracy theories of all kinds.
The entourage of Emmanuel Macron prefers to take the subject in the other direction: "There is above all a risk not to treat Professor Raoult, to ostracize him." The Elysée wants to show that the Head of State takes all treatment seriously as long as research does not allow having a precise opinion. "We are not in favor or against", explains an adviser who refuses to see political support.
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The guideline is followed assiduously within the executive. "If the doctors are divided on chloroquine, it is not for us, politicians, to give our opinion. It would be very dangerous," said a minister at the microphone of Europe 1.
At the Marseille hospital, the nursing staff cries out for their need for equipment while Emmanuel Macron meets with Professor Didier Raoult (Via @S_Burgatt) # Coronaviruspic.twitter.com / hH8SJpxHaY- Europe 1 (@ Europe1) April 9, 2020
In addition, when the President arrived, hospital staff gathered to question Emmanuel Macron on the lack of equipment he had to face.