US President Donald Trump says he is taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus.

“I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,” Trump told reporters on Monday.

Trump has previously touted the malaria drug despite medical warnings about its use.

He made the disclosure in a question-and-answer session with reporters during a meeting with restaurant executives about the impact of the virus.

Weeks ago, Trump promoted the drug as a potential treatment for the virus but subsequent studies found it was not helpful.

The 73-year-old, who is tested daily for the virus, said he asked the White House physician if it was OK to take the drug, and the doctor told him, “well, if you’d like it”.

The disclosure came as drugmaker Moderna reported progress in a potential vaccine for the virus.

The only drug that has emerged as a potential treatment is Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, a drug reserved for hospital patients.

Fox News, immediately after Trump’s remarks, interviewed a doctor who cautioned people not to take hydroxychloroquine.

“There’s no effect that we have seen and we have treated multiple patients with it,” Dr Bob Lahita said.