The Guild of Medical Doctors, a body of private medical practitioners in Nigeria, says all claims made by Stella Immanuel should be taken with reservation.
Immanuel, a Nigerian-trained doctor based in the United States, had claimed she treated over 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.
She also said there is no need for people to wear face masks as a measure to prevent COVID-19.
But in a statement, Olufemi Babalola, president, Guild of Medical Doctors, asked the public to be aware that Immanuel’s claim is not backed by scientific evidence.
Babalola said while studies have subjected the drug to intense research, some suggest that it is effective while others dismissed its efficacy.
He said a study is underway at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to test the efficacy of the drug in treating COVID-19 patients.
“We have watched with dismay the viral video of Dr. Stella Immanuel, a doctor in the United States of America. The video has been shared all over the country and led to many people justifiably asking the question, What do you think, doctor?” he said.
“Dr. Stella Immanuel strongly attests to treating over 350 patients in her clinic in Houston, Texas, with the combination of Hydrochloroquine (HCQ), Zinc and Zithromax. However, people must understand that this is not scientific evidence and just her own personal, unsubstantiated claims.
“The important point, of course, is to note that medical research has subjected HCQ to intense research. While some studies suggest that it is effective, others have come to the opposite conclusion. It is also true that Senegal, where HCQ is routinely used, has one of the lowest Covid-19 case fatality rates in the world at 0.64% compared to 3.4% in the USA.
“As we speak, a study is underway in LUTH on its efficacy and safety. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of all these studies should be undertaken to pool all the results and come up with a summative analysis which will guide clinicians.
“Until then, all anecdotal claims such as the one from Dr. Stella Immanuel must be taken with a pinch of salt. It should also be noted that HCQ may be a cause of serious complications and even death in some people. Other anecdotal claims such as the herbal mixture from Madagascar have subsequently been proven ineffective.”
The association asked Nigerians to be conscious of the fact that COVID-19 is real and that the disease is “an indiscriminate killer”.
“We know from personal experience since it has killed many doctors and nurses all over the country, including our very own Professor Lovett Lawson,” the statement read.
“This disease is definitely not a joke and we strongly condemn the politicization of the disease and the treatments currently being used to fight the pandemic.
“As at today, the whole world is still actively looking for effective treatment and of course, a vaccine. Until then, everyone has a responsibility to remain safe and protect one another through the ways proven to help.”