Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) told a Kentucky crowd Friday that “hatred” for former President Donald Trump was obstructing legitimate study of a medication, used primarily for treating parasites in farm animals, for use against coronavirus.
“The hatred for Trump deranged these people so much, they’re unwilling to objectively study it,” Paul said while meeting with constituents in Cold Spring, Kentucky. He provided no proof for his claims.
There is no evidence showing that Ivermectin, including its form for human consumption, can reduce the chances of contracting coronavirus or effectively treat someone infected with COVID. Still, the product has sold out in many locations after vaccination opponents began hyping the product in recent weeks.
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Paul, who is an ophthalmologist that withdrew from the American Board of Ophthalmology to declare himself “self-certified” prior to entering politics, said he’s not sure if Ivermectin “works,” but that he keeps an “open mind” about it.
Refuting the GOP senator’s comments, the U.S. National Library of Medicine said that studies have been conducted on Ivermectin, and have shown no proof of its efficacy in treating COVID-19. The pharmaceutical company Merck, which manufactures the drug, has also spoken out against its use for treating or preventing coronavirus.
Merck noted in February of this year that there is “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect [of Ivermectin] against COVID-19,” as well as “no meaningful evidence for [its] clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients” with the virus.
The increased off-label use of the drug has prompted several state agencies, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to issue a warning against using it to treat or prevent COVID-19, as the drug comes with serious side effects.
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA wrote in a blunt tweet earlier this month.
Senator Paul has a history of peddling lies about the pandemic, and has had his YouTube account temporarily suspended for spreading false theories on COVID. Paul has also been a poor example for preventing infection, as he frequently refuses to wear masks, even though they’ve been demonstrated to effectively prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Paul has also clashed with infectious diseases experts, including White House health adviser Anthony Fauci.