00:16 GMT15 August 2020
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    Instagram this week removed a video post from American singer Madonna’s feed that featured Stella Immanuel, a Texas-registered physician, who has touted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 and has also made other questionable claims about how gynecological issues arise from people having sex with witches and demons in dreams.

    In the now-deleted post, the pop singer wrote in her caption: “The Truth will - set us all Free! But some people don’t want to hear the truth. Especially the people in power who stand to make money from this long drawn out search for a vaccine which has been proven and has been available for months. They would rather let fear control them and let the rich get richer and the poor and sick get sicker. This woman is my hero. Thank you Stella Immanuel.” 

    ​British singer Annie Lennox commented on Madonna’s post, saying: “This is utter madness!!! I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery. Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it.” 

    Instagram later deleted Madonna’s post after flagging it as false information. 

    Immanuel has been discredited in the medical community for promoting conspiracy theories about how hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19. 

    In the video shared by Madonna, Immanuel claims to have treated hundreds of patients with COVID-19 using hydroxychloroquine, zinc and the antibiotic azithromycin, which is sold under the brand name Zithromax. 

    “This virus has a cure: it’s called hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax,” Immanuel says in the video. “You don’t need masks. There is a cure,” she added during a “White Coat Summit” gathering held in Washington, DC, by an organization called America’s Frontline Doctors. 

    Immanuel is also accused of spreading anti-LGBTQ rhetoric as well as homophobic and transphobic views, according to the Independent. The outlet further reported that Immanuel has made claims about the uterine condition endometriosis being caused by “sex demons,” among other outlandish theories.

    US President Donald Trump retweeted the same video Monday of Immanuel hailing hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the novel coronavirus. At the time, the president called the video a "must-watch," before it was ultimately taken down by Twitter. 

    The social media platform on Tuesday also temporarily suspended the Twitter profile of Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, after he shared the same video featuring Immanuel.

    Although hydroxychloroquine was initially believed to be a safe treatment for COVID-19, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June revoked its emergency-use authorization for the drug to treat the illness after several studies suggested that the drug can cause serious cardiac side effects in some patients.

    Despite the FDA’s warning, Trump, who took the drug himself for a 14-day period, continues to publicly claim that hydroxychloroquine is safe. Most recently, the president reiterated his stance during a Tuesday briefing, where he told reporters that the antimalarial drug “doesn’t cause problems.”


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