A number of posts on Facebook claim that Queen Elizabeth II is being treated for Covid-19 with ivermectin, based on an error in a news report released by an Australian news broadcaster.
A video, which features a doctor describing treatment options for elderly patients, has also been shared thousands of times on Twitter by users pointing to the appearance of a brief stock clip of Stromectol—a brand of ivermectin.
Despite claims otherwise on social media, the appearance of Stromectol in the clip is not proof that the Queen is being treated with ivermectin.
The clip features a journalist paraphrasing quotes from Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, an Australian doctor, which broadly explain what treatment options might be available to an elderly Covid-19 patient such as the Queen. As the reporter says “they might benefit from new medicines currently approved for high-risk patients in Australian hospitals”, two clips appear—one of Sotromivab, a medication used to treat Covid-19, followed by Stromectol.
The Nine Network, which broadcast the shot of Stromectol in a segment of their programme A Current Affair on 21 February, told the Guardian Australia it “shouldn’t have been included” and was the “result of human error”. The episode appears to have been removed from their website.
Dr Haikerwal told the Guardian: “Ivermectin never even came into the conversation. I said there are medications available for people who are vulnerable… It certainly wouldn’t be ivermectin. I wouldn’t recommend it.”
The Nine Network spokesperson said the organisation had apologised to Dr Haikerwal, adding: “We do not suggest the Queen is using ivermectin.”
It was announced on 20 February that the Queen had tested positive for the virus. No details about how she is being treated have been announced, although her symptoms have been described as “mild”.
It has been speculated throughout the pandemic that ivermectin, a well known anti-parasite medication, could be used to treat Covid-19.
As we have reported several times before, use of the drug in this context has been highly controversial and remains the subject of research.
Both the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency have said that ivermectin should not be used to prevent or treat Covid-19 except in the context of a clinical trial.
A recent clinical trial, published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that “ivermectin treatment during early illness did not prevent progression to severe disease”, and concluded that their findings did not support the use of ivermectin for Covid-19 patients.
It was announced in June 2021 that the drug would be included in research carried out by Oxford University into possible Covid-19 treatments.
Image courtesy of Commonwealth Secretariat, via Flickr.