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VERIFY: Doctors' viral video shares false claims about hydroxychloroquine

The video was shared millions of times before being removed from social media sites. It contains multiple falsehoods.

A viral video shared by President Trump and millions of others has now been removed from Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.

The video shows doctors in white coats giving a press conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The event was organized by the “Tea Party Patriots Foundation,” a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You can still watch the video on their site.

According to founder Dr. Sime Gold, the event was held “because we feel as though the American people have not heard from all the expertise that’s out there all across our country.”

Gold and other doctors spoke about COVID-19, masks, school reopenings, and more in the 45-minute video, but it’s the claims by Dr. Stella Immanuel that the VERIFY team looked into specifically.

About eight minutes into the video, Dr. Immanuel approaches the microphone and introduces herself.

“I’m a primary care physician in Houston, Texas. I actually 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 actually used to these medications. I’m here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID,” she said. 

Immanuel then talks more about hydroxychloroquine and says:
“I came here to Washington, D.C., to tell America nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine.”

THE QUESTION:

Is hydroxychloroquine a “cure” for COVID-19?

THE ANSWER:

No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization both confirm that there is currently no medication that can cure COVID-19.

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Hydroxychloroquine is being researched as a possible treatment for COVID-19 patients, but much of the initial research has turned up negative and other research has been shut down due to fear of extensive side effects from the drug. 

WHAT WE FOUND:

On their website, the CDC says, “There are no drugs or other therapeutics presently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

The WHO website reads similarly, that “There is currently no licensed medication to cure COVID-19.”

Hydroxychloroquine is being researched as a possible treatment for COVID-19 and the FDA had granted an “Emergency Use Authorization” for the drug to allow doctors and pharmacists to prescribe it outside its normal use.

In June, however, the FDA revoked the EUA grant.

“We made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery,” the FDA site reads. 

In a longer letter, FDA Chief Scientist Denise Hinton wrote that “it is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of HCQ and CQ may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks.”

The WHO and NIH also recognized those “potential risks” and halted their respective studies into the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients.

“Data from Solidarity (including the French Discovery trial data) and the recently announced results from the UK's Recovery trial both showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared with standard of care,” the WHO explained.

BOTTOM LINE:

There’s no current cure for COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine is being researched, but many studies have shut down after finding no evidence the drug had positive effects on COVID-19 outcome.

Hydroxychloroquine has, however, been linked to negative side effects. The FDA identified reports of “heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.”

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