Demystification of Dr. Stella Immanuel’s Covid-19 Treatment Method
“Evidence-based medicine should not be rejected or disregarded, especially if it produces potent results after treating COVID-19 patients successfully, as Dr. Immanuel did, regardless of whether the knowledge comes from the Northern or the Southern hemisphere,”
—Dr. I. D. Onwudiwe
For this article, I am inspired to write about Dr. Stella Immanuel’s much-touted video on her treatment of COVID-19 patients in her medical clinic in Houston, Texas. Absent of any extensive background in the science of epidemiology or medicine, my analysis is purely sociological. Sometimes it behooves social scientists as well to examine and scrutinize social events that are puzzling and even mysterious.
In some academic and social outlets, we have been informed that COVID-19 dangerously affects black Africans more than any other racial or ethnic group. The Center for Criminal Justice Research at Texas Southern University reports that the COVID-19 contagion affects the black community more than any other group in the United States.
There may be several reasons underlying this social reality about COVID-19 and race. Perhaps one of the more compelling motives stems from the lack of adequate medical hospitals and health facilities and the lack of free health treatment and modern testing centers for people of color. The underprivileged in the world—white, black, or any other color—may suffer the brunt of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at greater rates than the rich. The high confinement rate of black people the United States is another reality that leads to high contact with the epidemic among black communities.
If there is any semblance of truth to this view, and if there is any form of successful evidence-based treatment before the finalization and development of vaccines, is it incumbent on societal leaders to use whatever means necessary to prevent human beings from dying? I believe this is the crux of the argument presented in the amply elucidated video of the African-born physician, Dr. Stella Immanuel of Houston, Texas. In this video, Dr. Immanuel notes she has treated about 350 COVID-19 patients, of which, according to her, none have succumbed to the virus. Indeed, the doctor states that a record of her treatment regimen is maintained. She asserts that she uses a combination of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and azithromycin in her treatment methodology. However, she does not claim that she has conducted any randomized experimentation or research consistent with the rigors of science. Instead, she maintains that she embarked on her treatment modalities after reading a study by the National Institute of Health under Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Like any other physician of the glocal world, she is a qualified physician with knowledge of two-world medical gen and practice.
While I cannot quarrel or find fault with the many doctors and scientists who either embrace or reject her approach, I must emphasize that I was immediately discombobulated by the many Africans who chastised her too quickly. Some immediately claimed in various social media outlets that Dr. Immanuel could not be trusted because of her past business deals in Africa. Others rebuked her and accused her of practicing witchcraft. Further, some asserted that, rather than stating outrightly that God originally planted her in Cameroon, she falsely claimed Nigerian identity. My point of divergence from those individuals is rooted in her educational training merits—she studied in a Nigerian university. She obtained further medical grounding in the United States. Like any other physician of the glocal world, she is a qualified physician with knowledge of two-world medical gen and practice. Having originated from Africa, Dr. Immanuel was exposed to the general use of the family of quinine medicines in the treatment of malarial problems. As a physician, she is aware of the side effects of those families of medication that are common to African people.
But before her video, the African doctor was not the first spokesperson who alluded to the benefits of her treatment routine. Indeed, as reported by the New York Times on April 2, 2020, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, who practices family medicine in a New York county, asserted that he had used hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate in the treatment of coronavirus patients. Like Dr. Immanuel, Dr. Zelenko strongly indicated that 100 percent of his patients with coronavirus like-symptoms survived with his treatment methods. Dr. Zelenko was not accused of practicing witchcraft, nor did his education come under a microscope, and no African scrutinized his nationality.
Additionally, in Cameroon, a country with a colonial relationship with France, the same treatment procedure was in vogue before Dr. Immanuel’s statements. As recommended by Didier Raoult, Director of the University Medical Institute in Cameroon, the same three combinations of treatment were introduced in the management of coronavirus patients for prophylaxis. Although France noted the controversy surrounding its use, many African countries already significantly impacted by malaria and its treatment methodology adopted the treatment approach of Professor Raoult. So far, Nigeria has a stock-pile of hydroxychloroquine in various agencies, which has not been released to the citizens. However, Nigerians are used to malaria and can afford the drugs without government assistance. Most importantly, as I noted in a previous opinion piece, amid the current pandemic, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine. Regardless of anyone’s political persuasions, it would serve the public well to avoid simply disregarding the opinions of a man with access to the best intelligence.
Indeed, some early credible studies that discount the benefits of using Dr. Immanuel’s procedure and identify the risks of using hydroxychloroquine in the Lancet prestigious medical journal have, summarily, been retracted because the researchers can no longer trust the primary data utilized in their study of 100,000 patients. The retraction was reported by the Washington Post on June 4, 2020, raising anxieties among a community of scholars and scientists about publishing experimental results too quickly. On July 31, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Advisor on the novel coronavirus disease, and the bedrock of reason regarding the pandemic, stated that the disease is so infectious and it may last longer than society desires. While giving his testimony before a House Committee in the United States Congress, Dr. Fauci claimed that there are no assurances that scientists will identify a lasting solution, which will be safe or develop an effective vaccine. However, he is confident about such a discovery.
I am convinced that like the vaccine discovered to treat Ebola and other transmissible diseases, these companies and their scientists will find a solution.
Optimistically, there are various reports that different pharmaceutical companies are working assiduously with the U.S. federal government to develop brands of vaccines. China, Russia, Nigeria, South Korea, Australia, Germany, and other nations are also trying to locate vaccines against the coronavirus. In the United States, however, Johnson and Johnson vowed to produce 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and guaranteed an additional 200 million doses if needed. The company’s goal is to supply the world with more than 1 billion prescriptions before 2021, as reported by CNBC on August 5, 2020. Other companies in the race to save society from COVID-19 with safe vaccines include Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and BioNTech. According to the CNBC story, these companies have agreements with the United States to find safe and productive vaccines effectively.
I am convinced that like the vaccine discovered to treat Ebola and other transmissible diseases, these companies and their scientists will find a solution. While they continue to research, test, and utilize controlled experiments, society should safeguard peoples’ lives from coronavirus. Evidence-based medicine should not be rejected or disregarded, especially if it produces potent results after treating COVID-19 patients successfully, as Dr. Immanuel did, regardless of whether the knowledge comes from the Northern or the Southern hemisphere.