Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) claimed that animosity against former President Donald Trump is hindering studies of ivermectin — a drug approved to treat some parasitic worms and often administered to livestock — and its supposed potential to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.
“The hatred for Trump deranged these people so much, that they’re unwilling to objectively study it,” Paul said Friday during a town hall in Cold Spring, Kentucky, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer, the first outlet to report Paul’s remarks.
“Someone like me that’s in the middle on it, I can’t tell you because they will not study ivermectin,” Paul told his audience. “They will not study hydroxychloroquine without the taint of their hatred for Donald Trump.”
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that Trump touted during his presidency as a treatment for COVID, despite health officials’ concerns about its safety and effectiveness. Studies have shown the drug has no benefit for patients hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Ivermectin is not a drug that is used to treat viruses. Some initial research is being done on the effect of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But after people began purchasing doses meant for horses in order to self-medicate, the Food and Drug Administration warned against using the antiparasitic.
The FDA has been clear that “additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be appropriate to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.” In March, the World Health Organization also advised against the widespread use of ivermectin, saying it should only be used in clinical trials and that evidence on its use to treat COVID-19 is “inconclusive.”
Paul has repeatedly urged people to resist vaccine and mask mandates. HuffPost reached out to Paul’s office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Medical experts around the world have encouraged people to get a vaccine to help protect against severe illness and death caused by the coronavirus and its highly transmissible delta variant.