A Cameroon-born and American trained physician, Dr. Stella Immanuel who claims to be a physician in Houston, is trending on social media after delivering a fiery COVID-19 speech in the US on Monday. Emmanuel dismissed experts’ warning that hydroxychloroquine could cause serious heart problems for coronavirus patients, citing her experience with the use of the drug.
Dr. Stella, went so far as to describe hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 when used in concert with two other drugs – zinc and Zithromax. The clip, which was originally posted by the right-wing news site Breitbart, featured four people who identified themselves as doctors speaking in front of the Supreme Court building.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, there is no known cure for COVID-19.
Even when the video did not appear to be anything special, President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. had tweeted versions of it within six hours and the right-wing news site Breitbart had shared it. It went viral, shared largely through Facebook groups dedicated to anti-vaccination movements and conspiracy theories such as QAnon, racking up tens of millions of views. Multiple versions of the video were uploaded to YouTube, and links were shared through Twitter. The video was viewed at least 20 million times by Monday afternoon.
Recall that in the early months of the pandemic, President Trump repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, he said he was taking it himself. But that same month, the Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency authorization for the drug for COVID-19 patients and said it was “unlikely to be effective” and carried potential risks. The National Institutes of Health halted clinical trials of the drug.
In the viral video, Dr. Stella Immanuel said,
“I went to medical school in West Africa, Nigeria, where I took care of malaria patients, treated them with hydroxychloroquine and stuff like that, so I’m used to these medications.
“America, there is a cure for COVID. You don’t need masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,“ Immanuel says on the video. She also claimed to be treating hundreds of patients infected with coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine and asserted that it was an effective treatment. The claims have been repeatedly disputed by the medical establishment.
“I’m here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID.
“Patients that have diabetes, patients that have high blood pressure, patients that have asthma, old people … I think my oldest patient is 92 … 87-year-olds. And the result has been the same. I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zithromax, and they’re all well.”
She said she put herself, her staff, and other doctors she knew on hydroxychloroquine for prevention of COVID-19.
“We see patients, 10 to 15 COVID patients, every day,” she said.
“We give them breathing treatments. We only wear surgical masks. None of us has gotten sick. It works.”
Despite the video being removed, it was still popping up on social media sites, largely because users shared it and re-uploaded it.
The world is waiting for an end to the deadly disease, with Oxford University in England currently running human trials of a potential vaccine.