The controversial anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine is back in the headlines after a Cameroonian-born Houston-Texas-based doctor promoted unproven claims about the drug as an effective cure for COVID-19.

In the video, Dr Stella Immanuel appears on the steps of the Washington Supreme Court to push the drug, despite mounting scientific evidence from multiple clinical trials which show the drug as ineffective in treating COVID-19.

The viral video which was tweeted and retweeted by US President Donald Trump and his son has since been removed by social media companies. But this was only after it had generated millions of views.

Twitter, Youtube and Facebook have all removed the video from its platforms because it violates their COVID-19 misinformation policy. In the video, Dr Immannuel claims to have treated over 350 patients with COVID-19, many with underlying conditions, and not one has died due to the alleged efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine.

The SABC is unable to verify these claims, but the US Centers for Disease Control, its Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organisation and the African Centres for Disease Control all agree that the drug offers negligible or zero reduction in mortality.

Promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 by Houston Texas-based doctor causes a stir

 

Dr Immanuel who is part of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors a rightwing backed group of medics has also questioned the effectiveness of wearing masks as a mitigation factor and has received President Trump’s support.

The FDA withdrew an emergency authorization of the drug for COVID-19 citing its ineffectiveness causing serious adverse effects including heart rhythm irregularities evidence that leaders such as Trump and his counterpart in Brazil Jair Bolsonaro largely dismissed.

The same President who in April recommended injecting disinfectant into the body as a possible treatment for COVID-19. A view again dismissed by the country’s top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci in an interview with ABC News this week.

Fauci says, “I go along with the FDA. The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”

With President Trump musing aloud why his poll numbers show Dr Fauci the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, far more popular and trusted than he is.

The President’s poll numbers have suffered as a result of his response to the pandemic with almost 4.5 million COVID-19 cases and more than 150 000 dead and rising.

Africa CDC warns against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment