Stella Immanuel – The conspiracist Nigerian doctor Trump calls 'impressive' (www.graphic.com.gh)

Stella Immanuel, a doctor at the centre of a controversy over unproven and potentially dangerous claims that an anti-malaria drug can treat Covid-19, is no stranger to conspiracy theories.

Facebook and Twitter have taken down the viral video in which she appears, saying it violates their policies about misinformation – but not before it was retweeted by Donald Trump and one of his sons.

The US president defended himself, saying he found Dr Immanuel, who was born in Cameroon and is based in the Texan city of Houston, “very impressive”.

“She said that she had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients, I thought her voice was an important voice but I know nothing about her,” he said on Tuesday.

Dr Immanuel, who is also a Christian pastor, gave a speech on the steps of the US Supreme Court in Washington, captured in a video first published by right-wing website Breitbart on Monday.

Along with other medics from a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, she said that Americans were being denied a potential cure for Covid-19.

“Nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure – it is called hydroxychloroquine, I have treated over 350 patients and not had one death,” said Dr Immanuel.

Despite some early studies raising hopes that the drug could be used to cure coronavirus, one subsequent larger scale trial has shown it is not effective as a treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has halted its trials, saying it doesn’t reduce death rates in patients with coronavirus.

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned against using the drug to treat coronavirus patients, following reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” and other health issues….

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