US President Donald Trump has defended the viral video of Dr Stella Immanuel and again approved the use of a disproved anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
In a White House briefing, the US president defended his decision to promote a viral video of a group of doctors promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine, despite his own administration withdrawing emergency authorisation for its use against the coronavirus.
Due to the risks of serious side effects such as heart rhythm problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency-use authorisation of the drug for COVID-19.
Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is currently “no proof” the anti-malaria drug is effective as a coronavirus treatment nor that it can prevent the virus.
The president’s comments come after Twitter temporarily suspended his son Donald Trump Jr.’s account after he posted a video on Facebook and Twitter which promoted the drug.
In the video, Dr. Stella Immanuel, a Nigerian-born physician from Houston, promotes hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus. She claims to have successfully treated 350 people.
“You don’t need masks, there is a cure,” Immanuel says in the video.
But she is seen regularly wearing masks in videos posted to her Facebook page, where she preaches during religious events.
“I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” Trump said about Immanuel, sidestepping questions about her history of dubious medical claims.
Johns Hopkins University reports that more than four million people in the US have been infected by COVID-19, with the death toll approaching 150,000.