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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 13, 2020

Kamala Harris’s sister does take hydroxychloroquine — for lupus

If Your Time is short

  • Maya Harris, the sister of Sen. Kamala Harris, announced in April that she takes hydroxychloroquine for lupus, not COVID-19. 

In April, appearing on "The View," Sen. Kamala Harris called President Donald Trump a "drug pusher" for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Hydroxychloroquine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent malaria and to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. As we’ve previously reported, the drug is not a cure for COVID-19, and research on whether it could provide relief from symptoms of the disease is inconclusive. In July, the FDA released a summary of safety issues related to using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.

On Aug. 12, the day after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden named Harris as his running mate, Paul Sperry, the former Washington bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily, tweeted what looked like a bombshell. 

"DEVELOPING," it said. "Kamala’s sister takes hydroxychloroquine."

We reached out to Sperry about the tweet but did not immediately hear back. 

Featured Fact-check

Fact is, this story has already, well, developed. Maya Harris, Kamala Harris’ sister, broke the news exactly four months earlier. 

"I have lupus," Maya Harris tweeted on April 12, sharing an article she had written for the Atlantic. "I haven’t spoken publicly about it before now. But then coronavirus hit, killing black people at alarming rates & Trump unnecessarily put lupus patients—disproportionately black women—at higher risk."

In the story, Maya Harris writes: "Not long ago, Donald Trump started talking and tweeting about hydroxychloroquine, which I have taken for most of my adult life, as if it were a miracle drug—a ‘game changer’ for treating COVID-19, the president insists. Immediately, thousands of people began hoarding it, causing shortages that have resulted in lupus patients—and their doctors—struggling to get the supply they need."

Sperry’s tweet is technically accurate: Maya Harris does take the drug. But, as many people pointed out in their replies to the tweet, it’s wrongly cast as if this is breaking news. Other comments make clear that at least some people are reading an unsaid suggestion: that she takes it to treat or prevent COVID-19. 

She uses the drug for lupus. 

We rate this tweet Half True.


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Kamala Harris’s sister does take hydroxychloroquine — for lupus

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