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An image of a drug containing ivermectin was included in a news report about Queen Elizabeth II’s COVID-19 diagnosis “as a result of human error,” according to the Australian network that broadcast the news report.
The network issued a statement saying it did not intend to suggest a doctor had endorsed the ivermectin drug or that the queen was taking ivermectin.
The anti-parasitic ivermectin is not approved in Australia to treat COVID-19, nor in the United Kingdom, where the queen lives. It’s also not approved in the U.S. as a COVID-19 treatment.
An Australian news outlet’s video-editing mistake reignited persistent claims that the anti-parasitic ivermectin is an effective treatment against COVID-19.
On Feb. 20, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II, 95, had tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing "mild coldlike symptoms."
In its coverage of the queen’s diagnosis, Australia’s A Current Affair news program included a segment of an interview with a doctor who warned that patients in their 90s are in "significant danger" of the bad outcomes of COVID-19.
A reporter then says: "Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal says a COVID patient the queen’s age should be isolating and might benefit from new medicines currently approved for high-risk patients at Australian hospitals."
As the reporter is speaking, video shows two small vials of the drug Sotrovimab, then a box of Stromectol tablets, which contain ivermectin.
The news video prompted some social media users to spread claims about the queen’s course of treatment.
"News report accidentally reveals doctors giving ‘banned’ COVID treatment to the Queen," read the headline of some posts sharing the segment.
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Buckingham Palace has not provided details about the queen’s treatment, but she is believed to be fully vaccinated and boosted.
The clip of the ivermectin drug was included in A Current Affair’s report "as a result of human error," according to a clarification the network posted to its online story.
"We were highlighting an approved infusion medication called Sotrovimab and the report accidentally cut to a shot of Stromectol — a product which contains ivermectin," the clarification said.
The network said its programs have highlighted concerns about taking ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 and that it "did not intend to suggest" that Haikerwal endorsed Stromectol.
"We do not suggest the Queen is using ivermectin," the network also said in its clarification.
Haikerwal is a Melbourne-based general practitioner and a former president of the Australian Medical Association.
Haikerwal told PolitiFact that in the A Current Affair interview, he was not speaking to the queen’s diagnosis or treatment protocol. In the TV interview, he also did not make any specific treatment recommendations for COVID-19 patients in their 90s.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, which assesses drug safety, provisionally approved the monoclonal antibody treatment Sotrovimab to treat COVID-19 in August 2021.
In contrast, the Australian Department of Health does not recommend the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
"There is not enough evidence to support the safe and effective use of these drugs (separately, or in combination) to prevent or treat COVID-19," it said of ivermectin, doxycycline and zinc.
Ivermectin is also not listed as an available treatment for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, where the queen resides, according to the National Health Service.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration also has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Social media posts claimed, "news report accidentally reveals doctors giving ‘banned’ COVID treatment to the queen."
An image of a drug containing ivermectin was erroneously included in a news report about the queen’s COVID-19 diagnosis, said the network that aired the news segment.
Ivermectin is not approved to treat COVID-19 in Australia nor in the U.K. (It’s also not approved as a COVID-19 treatment in the U.S.)
We found no evidence to suggest the queen has been given ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
We rate this claim False.
Rumble post, Feb. 21, 2022
A Current Affair, "Global concerns for Queen Elizabeth II after positive COVID-19 result," Feb. 21, 2022
The Guardian, "Covid antivirals an option for the Queen under care of medical household," Feb. 20, 2022
The Guardian, "Nine Network apologises for ‘error’ suggesting Queen may have used ivermectin to treat Covid," Feb. 22, 2022
Email exchange with Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, Feb. 22, 2022
Reuters, "Fact Check-News channel says ivermectin images included in Queen COVID-19 report in error," Feb. 22, 2022
Full Fact, "News clip doesn’t prove Queen is being treated with ivermectin," Feb. 22, 2022
The New York Times, "Queen Elizabeth Tests Positive for Coronavirus, as England Is Poised to Relax Rules," Feb. 20, 2022
NDTV, "Who is Dr Mukesh Haikerwal?" Nov. 18, 2009
Altona North Medical Group, "Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AC," accessed Feb. 22, 2022
Australian Government Department of Health, "COVID-19 treatments," accessed Feb. 22, 2022
NPR, "Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive for COVID-19," Feb. 20, 2022
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