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COVID-19: Prescription claiming hydroxychloroquine, other drugs potent as covid-19 cure not approved by U.S FDA

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A WhatsApp message which circulated recently claimed that the US’ Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved a combination of Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Zinc Sulphate as treatment for Coronavirus.

The claim that the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved a combination of Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Zinc Sulphate as treatment for Coronavirus is false. Verification on the website of the FDA shows that the agency did not approve the prescription for the treatment of covid -19.

Full Text 

A WhatsApp message claiming that the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved a combination of Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Zinc Sulphate as treatment for Coronavirus is currently in circulation among users of the app in Nigeria.

The message attributed credit for approval of the medication to one Dr Zev Zelenko. The prescription includes use of theHydroxychloroquine (200mg, twice a day for five days), Azithromycin (500mg, once a day for five days) and Zinc Sulphate (220mg, once a day for five days) as treatment for Coronavirus

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The Whatsapp message

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has been eager to find a cure for the disease which has claimed many lives world-wide. The race for a cure has consequently resulted in several prescriptions, mostly unproven.

Around mid-July, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) denied  approving a drug, PAXHERBAL CUGZIN, as covid-19 remedy.

However, on July 28,  a WhatsApp message sprung up, claiming that the prescription of the three drugs had been approved by the FDA.

Coincidentally, the message came up the same day a video of a U.S. medical practitioner Dr.Stella Immanuel, who made a similar claim, circulated widely across social media. Dr.Stella Immanuel’s claim on the drug combination has been condemned as unsubstantiated and unethical by individuals, agencies and governments.  

Verification

On a first look, the message is riddled with  red flags. For instance, the said approval was said to have been sanctioned ‘yesterday’ without the mention of a date. 

The message gave little information on the said doctor. Although the name was mentioned, there was no information on his designation. 

A search for the social media identity of Dr. Zelenko revealed the identity of a medical doctor who has thousands of followers on his social media accounts. Dr. Zelenko has actually, through social media, been flaunting the drugs as valid treatment for Coronavirus. However, a search through the website of the USA FDA  didn’t turn up any approval of the use of the drugs as covid-19 cure.

The U.S FDA had earlier in July, 2020 warned against the use of the drugs to treat COVID-19 and revoked Emergency Use Authorisation of hydroxychloroquine in certain patients, owing to a number of side effects.

Moreover, a thorough surf shows that no media organisation reported the purported FDA approval of the prescription.

Further, the World Health Organization recently removed chloroquine from clinical trials as a possible cure for covid-19.

Conclusion

The claim that the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved a combination of Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Zinc Sulphate as treatment for Coronavirus is false. Verification on the website of the FDA shows that the agency did not approve the prescription for the treatment of covid -19. Further, findings show that although Dr. Zelenko did claim the potency of the prescription, he never submitted that  the treatment was FDA approved. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Radio Nigeria Ibadan to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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