Claim: Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin can be used in treating COVID-19

Source: Stella Emmanuel

Verdict: 1 FALSE, 1 UNPROVEN

 Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu

Yet another video of Dr Stella Immanuel, a medical practitioner in Houston in the USA, recommending unproven drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 has surfaced on WhatsApp platforms in Ghana.

In July 2020, Dr Immanuel was at the centre of controversy after she falsely claimed that hydroxychloroquine was the cure for COVID-19. A claim subsequently reinforced by former US President, Donald Trump.

In a new 8 minutes and 36 seconds long video, Stella Immanuel claimed that she was using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to effectively treat  COVID-19 patients.

𝘈 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘰

“I have been using Ivermectin to take care of patients. Usually, I put patients on Hydro chloroquine and Ivermectin. I have been doing that since April. Nobody has ever said anything about it. I have treated a lot of patients with ivermectin, I have given hydroxychloroquine, for patients who couldn’t tolerate hydroxy, I gave them Ivermectin and for patients that were sicker, I gave them both Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine… I told you people from day one that this thing is diabolic. This is not even about COVID. COVID is completely treatable, COVID is completely preventable. This whole thing is about setting us up for a vaccine.” She partly said in the video.

The fact-check report will verify;

  1. Whether ivermectin can be used to treat COVID-19.
  2. Whether hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat COVID-19.

 

Fact-Check 1

“The current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive. Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials,” the World Health Organization has said.

Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic agent, included in the WHO essential medicines list for several parasitic diseases. It is used in the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness), strongyloidiasis and other diseases caused by soil-transmitted helminthiasis. It is also used to treat scabies.

A guideline development group was convened in response to the increased international attention on ivermectin as a potential treatment for COVID-19. This group is an independent, international panel of experts, which includes clinical care experts in multiple specialities and also include an ethicist and patient-partners.

They determined that the evidence on whether ivermectin reduces mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, need for hospital admission and time to clinical improvement in COVID-19 patients is of “very low certainty,” due to the small sizes and methodological limitations of available trial data, including a small number of events.

Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) said;

  • The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
  • Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. Clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing.

Verdict

Therefore, the claim that Ivermectin can be used to treat COVID-19 is UNPROVEN.

 

Fact-Check 2

The World Health Organization said it does not recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.

Taking hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 may increase the risk of heart rhythm problems, blood and lymph disorders, kidney injury, liver problems and failure.

This is based on six trials with more than 6000 participants who did not have COVID-19 and received hydroxychloroquine.

Meanwhile, using hydroxychloroquine for prevention had little or no effect on preventing illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 may increase the risk of diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness and headache.

Similar claims made by Dr Stella Immanuel in the past have been debunked by the BBCABC News, MedPageToday among others.

Verdict

 Therefore, the claim that hydroxychloroquine can be used in treating COVID-19 is FALSE.