A member of the White House coronavirus task force says there is ‘no evidence’ that hydroxychloroquine can treat COVID-19.
The drug, which is most typically used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis, has been touted by President Donald Trump, but has not proven successful in clinical trials.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends on Thursday, Dr Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator, was asked about a video Trump tweeted on Monday that was later removed for ‘sharing false information.’
In the video, Dr Stella Maxwell claimed she has treated at least 350 coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc and the antibiotic azithromycin with ‘100 percent success.’
Trump was widely condemned for sharing the video, in which Maxwell condemned wearing face masks, for being rife with misinformation.
Birx said that there is no scientific data to back up Maxwell’s claims.
‘We know in the randomized control of the trials to date – and there’s been several of them – that there’s no evidence that [hydroxychloroquine] improves the patients’ outcomes, whether they have mild, moderate disease, or whether they’re seriously ill in the hospital,’ she said.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, said on Thursday (pictured) there is ‘no evidence’ that hydroxychloroquine can treat COVID-19
Birx was asked about a video Trump tweeted on Monday that was later removed for ‘sharing false information’ in which Dr Stella Maxwell claimed she has treated at least 350 coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc,and the antibiotic Zithromax
Trump (left) has touted the drug (right) and recently said he took a two-week prescription of the drug as a prophylactic. Birx has said hydroxychloroquine might work anecdotally, but it hasn’t in randomized clinical trials
WHY STUDIES DON’T BACK HYDROXY
Scores of large, credible controlled studies including the 1,542-patient RECOVERY study in the UK and an NIH study, have found the drug offered no benefit, compared to patients who were only given supportive care, like oxygen.
On the heels of the RECOVERY study, the WHO cancelled the hydroxychloroquine arm of its international SOLIDARITY trial of multiple potential coronavirus treatments on June 17.
It came just days after the FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The agency had also previously posted a warning that the drug may cause dangerous heart arrhythmias.
On July 2, researchers from Henry Ford Health System published a study on hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus that caught the White House’s eye.
The study’s main finding was that death rates were 50 percent lower among patients who were treated with the controversial malaria drug. But the Detroit study was done in a manner far flung from the FDA’s ‘gold standard’ for conclusive research.
Research to determine whether a drug works is typically done as what’s called a randomized controlled trial. In this type of study, patients are assigned to either get the drug being tested, or a placebo. Neither doctors nor patients know who got which until the study ends.
The Detroit study was neither randomized, nor controlled.
It was observational, meaning researchers simply compared data on 2,541 COVID-19 patients who got all manner of treatments.
These types of studies are usually used to decide which drugs should undergo ‘gold standard’ testing, not which ones should be the gold standard of treatment.
In the simplest sense, those who got hydroxychloroquine were less likely to die – but they were also more likely to receive steroids, drugs which many studies suggest do work to combat the inflammation that kills many coronavirus sufferers.
Birx added: ‘There also may be a specific subgroup that does benefit, but we can’t see those in these randomized control trials.’
Earlier, this week, Trump told reporters he believes the drug works ‘in the early stages’ of COVID-19.
On Thursday, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced the pharmacists, drug distributors and others would be banned from prescribing hydroxychloroquine.
Birx was then asked why the board in Ohio board would ban the medication if it had been shown to work ‘in certain cases.’
‘Because science and medicine have always been full of accounts like this,’ she replied.
‘And, that’s why you do randomized clinical trials to actually be able to compare patient to patient.’
President Trump was among the first to wax lyrical about the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients in March.
‘This would be a gift from heaven, this would be a gift from God if it works,’ he said. ‘We are going to pray to God that it does work.’
He then repeated the claims on Twitter.
‘HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents),’ he wrote on March 21.
The study Trump referred to came from Marseille, France, in which 30 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine for 10 days combined with azithromycin, an antibiotic.
Although very small, the study ‘showed a significant reduction of the viral carriage’ after the six days and ‘much lower average carrying duration’ compared to patients who received other treatments.
But weeks later, in a statement published online, the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC) addressed several new concerns with the research.
Officials say they found out the researchers excluded data on patients who didn’t respond well to the treatment and that they did not clarify what they meant when they said patients were ‘virologically cured.’
Trump took a two-week course of hydroxychloroquine, along with zinc and Vitamin D, after two staffers tested positive for COVID-19, and had no ill effects, according to results of his latest physical released by his doctor in June.
Twitter later removed the tweet, saying: ‘Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy’
Trump shared a video of Maxwell’s speech twice, but the clip was taken down both times
Federal regulators have warned against their use except in hospitals and formal studies because of the risk of side effects, especially heart rhythm problems.
Last month, the journal The Lancet posted an ‘expression of concern’ about a study it published earlier this month of nearly 15,000 COVID-19 patients on the malaria drugs that tied their use to a higher risk of dying in the hospital or developing a heartbeat problem.
Scientists have raised serious questions about the database used for that study, and its authors have launched an independent audit.
That work had a big impact: the World Health Organization suspended use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and French officials stopped the drug’s use in hospitals.
Later the WHO said experts who reviewed safety information decided that its study could resume.
Meet Trump’s new favorite doctor, Dr Stella Immanuel, a homophobic preacher who uses ‘alien DNA’ as a cure, blames witchcraft for illness and says hydroxychloroquine can stop Covid 19
A Texas-based doctor whose declarations about using hydroxychloroquine to cure COVID-19 were retweeted by Donald Trump has a long history of supporting conspiracy theories, it has emerged.
Dr Stella Immanuel, 55, shot to fame on Monday when the president retweeted a video featuring her appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress.
She attacked ‘fake doctors’ who doubt the efficacy of the drug, and claimed it’s a ‘cure’, adding ‘you don’t need a mask.’
Stella Immanuel shot to fame in a video touting a discredited COVID-19 cure
Donald Trump on Monday night tweeted her video, before it was removed from social media
‘If some fake science comes out and says we’ve done studies and they found out that it doesn’t work, I can tell you categorically it’s fake science,’ she said.
‘I want to know who’s conducted that study and who’s behind it. Because there is no way I have treat 350 patients and counting and nobody is dead.’
She said she has treated patients with hydroxychloroquine along with zinc, and the antibiotic zithromax.
Donald Trump Jr was also impressed by her speech, noting on Twitter that it was ‘a must-watch’.
Immanuel, who runs the Fire Power Ministries in a strip mall next door to her clinic in Houston, was born in Cameroon and did her medical training in Nigeria, The Daily Beast reported.
On her Facebook page she describes herself as: ‘Physician, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Deliverance Minister, God’s battle axe and weapon of war.’
The church’s ‘beliefs’ section on their website – which has now been taken down – says they are against ‘unmarried couples living together, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, etc.,’ Heavy reported.
Stella Immanuel has run the Fire Power Ministries in Houston, Texas, since 2002
Immanuel preaches sermons about homosexuality, aliens, and vaccine conspiracy theories
One sentence in the profile reads: ‘Her attitude toward demonic forces has been described as cut-throat, a warrior to the core.’
Immanuel is also a ‘wealth transfer coach’ and believes ‘you can be saved, anointed, fire brand and wealthy too.’
A mother of three daughters, Immanuel reportedly studied medicine in Nigeria between 1984 and 1990.
In November 1998, Immanuel began working as a pediatrician in Alexandria, Louisiana.
She has been a physician at the Rehoboth Medical Center in Katy, just west of Houston, Texas, since October 2019.
The 55-year-old was born in Cameroon
She received a medical license in Texas eight months ago, in November, according to state records.
A Nigerian website, PM News, reported that Immanuel did a residency in pediatrics at Bronx-Lebanon in New York. It was unclear when.
She then interned under Dr. Babatunde Dosu, a Dallas-based Nigerian pediatrician.
It also stated that she holds medical licenses in Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky.
Immanuel founded the church in 2002 and has given sermons attacking progressive values and promoting conspiracy theories including ‘the gay agenda, secular humanism, Illuminati and the demonic New World Order.’
She has claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.
She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, saying: ‘They’re using all kinds of DNA, even alien DNA, to treat people.’
In a 2015 sermon she declared that the Illuminati are promoting a plan hatched by ‘a witch’ to destroy the world using abortion, gay marriage, and children’s toys.
Immanuel claims the Magic 8-Ball toy is in fact a scheme to get children used to witchcraft. ‘The 8-Ball was a psychic,’ she said.
Immanuel describes herself on Facebook as: ‘Physician, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Deliverance Minister, God’s battle axe and weapon of war.’
‘There are people that are ruling this nation that are not even human,’ Immanuel said, before launching into a conversation she had with a ‘reptilian spirit’ she described as ‘half-human, half-ET.’
In another 2015 sermon she said scientists had plans to install microchips in people, and develop a ‘vaccine’ to make it impossible to become religious.
‘They found the gene in somebody’s mind that makes you religious, so they can vaccinate against it,’ Immanuel said.
Immanuel warned that the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana was a gateway to evil, because its character had an ‘alter ego.’ She has claimed that schools teach children to meditate so they can ‘meet with demons.’
She also urges that ‘children need to be whipped’.
The doctor warned her flock that gay marriage meant that ‘very soon people are going to be seeking to marry children’.
She accused gay Americans of practicing ‘homosexual terrorism’ and praised a father’s decision to not love his transgender son after a gender transition.
‘You know the crazy part?’ Immanuel said.
‘The little girl demands he must love her anyway. Really? You will not get it from me, I’d be like ‘Little girl, when you come back to be a little girl again, but you talk—for now, I’m gone.”
Source: Daily Mail