Antivaxxer Issues Death Threat Over Covid-19 Fact-Check

The US’ FDA has not approved ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — A vaccine-hesitant person has made a death threat against people who correct claims that ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, can treat Covid-19.

A “Michael Mantion” emailed CodeBlue from a Gmail account with the subject: “Its time to kill people who deny that IVERMECTIN cures covid.”

“Please tell me how we can meet to address a path forward,” the person added.

“Michael Mantion”’s email to CodeBlue yesterday came after CodeBlue published an article by paediatrician Dr Musa Mohd Nordin that debunked a YouTube clip by a Malaysian Islamic scholar propagating misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

The former director-general of an Islamic think tank falsely claimed that Covid-19 vaccines contained nanoparticles with aluminium, to which Dr Musa responded that mRNA vaccines are probably the most purified form of vaccines to date and that there is no aluminium in the lipids carrying mRNA fragments (instructions to the cell to produce a harmless piece of the spike protein on the virus that causes Covid-19).

The Malaysian man also alleged in his YouTube video that ivermectin could be used in combination with zinc and doxycycline to treat Covid-19.

Dr Musa noted that most scientists believe there is currently insufficient evidence to show that ivermectin can be used as a Covid-19 therapy and that randomised controlled trials are needed for further investigation.

The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that ivermectin has not been approved for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.

The FDA noted that while a research article had described the effects of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in a laboratory setting, such studies are typically done at an early stage of drug development and that additional testing is needed to determine if ivermectin can prevent or treat Covid-19.

Ivermectin tablets are only approved for use in in humans for the treatment of some parasitic worms, while ivermectin topical formulations are approved for human use by prescription only for the treatment of external parasites such as headlice and for skin conditions such as rosacea. Ivermectin is FDA-approved for use in animals to prevent heartworm disease or to treat parasites.

There has been a surge of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia, some of which has been propagated by medical doctors and civil society figures. One civil liberties activist questioned if a popular fast food chain would leverage mRNA vaccines to push for acceptance of genetically modified foods.

A former local councillor posted, “What’s the point?”, in response to a news report about a US nurse who tested positive for Covid-19 more than a week after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. An expert said it takes about 10 to 14 days to develop protection from a vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine yields 50 per cent protection, while a second dose is needed to boost protection from symptomatic Covid-19 infection by up to 95 per cent.

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