What is Oleandrin extract? Trump eyes unproven Covid-19 'cure' promoted by Ben Carson and MyPillow's Mike Lindell

Trump is now pushing for an oleander plant extract to treat Covid-19 and Andrew Whitney of Phoenix Biotechnology claims that it can 'cure' the virus in just two days


                            What is Oleandrin extract? Trump eyes unproven Covid-19 'cure' promoted by Ben Carson and MyPillow's Mike Lindell
Donald Trump and Oleandrin (Getty Images)

It's wasn't long ago when President Donald Trump defended the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus, contradicting his own public health officials back in July. Now, Trump is eyeing another unproven coronavirus 'cure' at the recommendation of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Axios reported on August 16.

Trump is reportedly encouraging the US Food and Drug Administration to approve oleander plant extract to treat Covid-19, despite the fact that the dietary supplement has not been proven to treat the disease. Oleandrin is an experimental extract and was presented in July during an Oval Office meeting with Carson as well as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Lindell, a key Trump supporter, invested in the company to produce the unproven extract. Lindell told Axios News that in the meeting, Trump said, "The FDA should be approving it." Carson and Lindell have been promoting the drug as a cure for Covid-19.

The officials familiar with this conversation have raised concerns about the way in which this extract, which has been pushed by Andrew Whitney of Phoenix Biotechnology, is being promoted at the highest levels of the Trump administration. While there is no data to demonstrates that oleandrin has been tested in animals or humans for its efficiency to cure Covid-19, it has shown some evidence of inhibiting the virus in a non-peer-reviewed laboratory study. In an interview with Axios on August 15, Whitney said that oleandrin has been tested on humans for its efficacy against Covid-19 but the study is yet to be published. He added that it is in the process of being peer-reviewed. He also claimed to the administration that it cures Covid-19 in just two days. When Axios asked about the claim, Whitney said he stands by it "100%".

So, what is Oleandrin?

Oleandrin is an extract from the plant, Nerium oleander. It contains substances that are similar to the active chemical found in the heart medication, digoxin. According to a report by Axios, researchers have suggested that it could be useful to treat cancer because of the way it affects cells and that it could enhance the effects of other cancer therapies. Asked about its potential efficacy as a Covid-19 treatment, Lewin told Axios, "Oleandrin looks to have antiviral activity at high doses in a test tube model. You'd certainly want to see more work done on this before even contemplating a human trial."

As soon as the news started spreading on the internet, some furious netizens started referring to the mistake Trump made in the past when he authorized hydroxychloroquine's use to treat Covid-19 in the USA but later, in June, the agency revoked that authorization and warned of the "risk of heart rhythm problems" in Covid-19 patients treated with the drug. But then in July, Trump defended the drug, going against his health officials.

Referring to this, one user said, "This needs to stop. How many in NY died because of Trump’s HCQ push. There are over 60 drugs in (real) clinical trials that are being investigated. This shouldn't go to the front of the line." The user added, "Just like Trump’s enthusiasm for HQC. FDA approved for 'emergency use' despite no real clinical studies. US bought tons, then 1,000’s of doses given to NY’ers because of no approved drugs. It saturated the hospitals when other treatments should have been tried."



 



 

While another user quoted Wikipedia and said, "This is what he's promoting. 'Oleandrin is a toxic cardiac glycoside found in oleander. Along with conessine, it is primarily responsible for the toxicity of the sap of oleander'. Source - Wikipedia." Another angry user said, "Perhaps one of the reasons why 160,000+ Americans have died from COVID -19 is because Trump spends way too much time listening to people like the MyPillow guy instead of the renowned infectious disease experts like Dr Fauci."



 



 

US House Candidate, Qasim Rashid shared the post and said, "This is bananas Trump is promoting oleandrin as a COVID19 medication—even though there's ZERO proof it works Ben Carson & MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell—who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops oleandrin—are pushing for FDA approval" while another user commented on the post saying, "Anything being pushed by Ben Carson & the My Pillow guy sounds like the Trump Administration's continuation of putting profits over science in the fight to eradicate #COVID19."



 



 

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