In a video that went viral on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a Houston doctor claimed on Monday that hydroxychloroquine can cure and prevent covid-19 and that masks aren’t necessary to stop the transmission of the virus that has infected about 16.7 million people globally. Dr. Stella Immanuel has become an overnight sensation after her video amassed over 13 million views before being pulled down by Facebook. It is this video that U.S President Donald Trump called a “must watch” that has flooded most WhatsApp statuses with people stating “there is a cure”. The doctor claimed that she has treated over 350 Covid-19 patients with Hydroxychloroquine and that even those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes have been able to survive.
Dr. Stella Immanuel’s claims come at a time when increased conspiracy theories swell around the hydroxychloroquine drug which gained attention as a potential Covid-19 treatment in February when small studies suggested it might be useful against the virus. The idea has in the past months been dropped by leading health bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). It is also the continued support of the drug by U.S President Donald Trump that has left many riding along in the refuted idea that the drug is a cure for Covid-19. In May, Trump said that he had been using the drug to prevent himself from getting infected with Covid-19- claims that haven’t been supported by any evidence.
Who is Dr. Stella Immanuel? The Doctor is a primary care physician operating a medical clinic in Houston Texas and is also a Church Minister. The Cameroon born Doctor is known for her controversial sermons on Youtube and on her website where she claims that medical issues such as infertility, impotence, miscarriages and cyst are caused by sex with “spirit husbands” and “spirit wives”—a marvel Immanuel describes essentially as witches and demons having intercourse with people in a dreamworld. In a sermon in 2015, the doctor propagated ideas that an Illuminati plan had hatched by a “witch” to destroy the world using gay marriage, abortion, and children’s toys, books and TV shows such as Pokémon and Harry Potter. She has even gone to the extent of suggesting that Space alien DNA is currently being used in the field of medicine and that scientists are brewing up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious.
The claims presented by Dr. Stella Immanuel are not backed up by any evidence and remain as her own opinions.
Multiple studies have shown that Hydroxychloroquine plays the same role as a placebo when dealing with Covid-19 and does not cure or prevent the virus.