Nigerian–trained doctor based in the United States, Stella Immanuel, claimed she has treated over 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.
In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the suspension of its solidarity trial of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The agency cited a study published by The Lancet, which had examined the effects of the use of hydroxychloroquine alone or when used with a macrolide, and reported a higher mortality rate.
France, Italy and Belgium have also stopped the use of the drug to treat their COVID-19 patients.
However, speaking at a press conference at Washington DC on Monday, flanked by a group of American doctors known as America’s Frontline Doctors, Immanuel, Cameroonian-born US citizen, listed drugs used to cure COVID-19 as hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and zithromax.
“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,” she said.
“I’m here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID-19. Patients that have diabetes, patients that have high blood pressure, patients that have asthma, old people. I think my oldest patients are 92. We have not lost one patient.
“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. For the past few months, after taking care of over 350 patients, we’ve not lost one. Not a diabetic, not somebody with high blood pressure, not somebody with asthma, not an old person.
“We’ve not lost one patient. And on top of that, I’ve put myself, my staff, and many doctors that I know on hydroxychloroquine for prevention because by the very mechanism of action, it works early and as a prophylaxis.
“It works. Nobody needs to die. I am upset. I am upset because I see people who cannot breathe. We treat them and they live. This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax. I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need a mask.”
Her video has been shared by US President Donald Trump, who had said hydroxychloroquine was treatment for the disease.
The video, which reportedly garnered 17 million views, has been removed by Facebook and Twitter over misinformation claims.
Reacting to her claim, yesterday, the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) in a statement by its President, Prof. Olufemi Babalola said, “there is no scientific evidence to prove the claim.”
He said the research on the efficacy of the combination of Hydrochloroquine (HCQ), Zinc and Zithromax to treat COVID-19 had yet to be concluded.
The guild president noted that while some studies suggested that it was effective, others felt otherwise.
He added that “it is true that Senegal, where HCQ is routinely used, has one of the lowest COVID-19 case fatality rates in the world at 0.64 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent in the U.S.
“As we speak, a study is underway at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on its efficacy and safety. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of all these studies should be undertaken to pool all the results and come up with analysis which will guide clinicians.
“So, until then, all anecdotal claims such as the one from Dr Stella Immanuel must be taken with a pinch of salt.”
Babalola stated that HCQ may be a cause of serious complications and even death in some people, stressing that other anecdotal claims such as the herbal mixture from Madagascar had subsequently been proven ineffective.
He stated that the Guild of Medical Directors is a body of owners of private hospitals in Nigeria “and collectively, we are responsible for the management of about 70 per cent of the healthcare needs of Nigerians.
“So, a lot of the burden in explaining the problem as related to the video naturally falls on us. Therefore, we feel it is pertinent to explain or clarify the issues for Nigerians.
“We must reiterate that Coronavirus is real and COVID-19 is an indiscriminate killer. We know from personal experience since it has killed many doctors and nurses all over the country, including our very own Prof. Lovett Lawson. The disease is definitely not a joke.”
He, therefore, condemned the politicisation of the pandemic, noting that the whole world was actively looking for an effective treatment and vaccine for the disease.
“So, until then, everyone has a responsibility to remain safe and protect one another through the proven ways.