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Queen Elizabeth II smiles on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday April 21, 2018, for a concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday. (David Mirzoeff/Pool via AP) Queen Elizabeth II smiles on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday April 21, 2018, for a concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday. (David Mirzoeff/Pool via AP)

Queen Elizabeth II smiles on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday April 21, 2018, for a concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday. (David Mirzoeff/Pool via AP)

Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek February 24, 2022

No, a news report didn’t ‘reveal’ that doctors gave Queen Elizabeth a banned COVID-19 treatment

If Your Time is short

  • 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.

Claims that A Current Affair’s piece "accidentally revealed" that doctors had given the queen an unapproved COVID-19 treatment have been repeatedly debunked by news organizations.

Drugs highlighted in the TV segment

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.

Our ruling

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.

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More by Madison Czopek

No, a news report didn’t ‘reveal’ that doctors gave Queen Elizabeth a banned COVID-19 treatment

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