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Is Oleandrin A Cure For Covid-19?

During the past few days, an unproven and potentially deadly remedy for COVID-19 has been in the news. Oleandrin is a toxic cardiac glycoside found in the poisonous plant, oleander. As a main phytochemical of oleander, oleandrin is associated with the toxicity of oleander sap, and has similar properties to digoxin.

To be clear, nobody should be taking oleander or a derivation of the plant for COVID-19 prevention or treatment until studies have proven its safety and efficacy. Oleander is high toxic to humans and misuse can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and potentially accidental death.

According to a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website, you donโ€™t have to chug the entire plant down your throat for it to be fatal either. Consuming just a single Nerium oleander leaf can kill you. Within several hours of eating the plant, you can develop a variety of bad stuff including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, low body temperature, respiratory paralysis, a coma, and eventually death.

๐—ช๐—›๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—˜ ๐——๐—œ๐—— ๐—ง๐—›๐—˜ ๐—–๐—Ÿ๐—”๐—œ๐—  ๐—ง๐—›๐—”๐—ง ๐—ข๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—”๐—ก๐——๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—ก ๐—ฃ๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—ฉ๐—˜๐—ก๐—ง๐—ฆ ๐—–๐—ข๐—ฉ๐—œ๐——-๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต ๐—ข๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—š๐—œ๐—ก๐—”๐—ง๐—˜?

A pre-print article โ€“ that is, an article not peer-reviewed by other scientists โ€“ is now online. It reports how, in a test tube, oleandrin reduces production of the virus responsible for COVID-19. But this does not take into account the well-known cardiac toxicity of the chemical when consumed by an animal or human.

If you want to read the preprint of this study conducted by Phoenix Biotechnology, you can access it here: https://www.biorxiv.org/.../2020.07.15.203489v1.full.pdf

Oleandrin was pitched to the president by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in July. It should be noted that Lindell, a Trump supporter, owns a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnology, which is developing the experimental oleandrin product. And Carson, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is a personal friend of his.

Lindell told Axios in a new interview that Trump โ€œbasically said: โ€ฆโ€™The FDA should be approving it,โ€ during their July meeting.

While some scientific trials have studied whether oleandrin could treat cancer, AIDS and congestive heart failure, there is no evidence that oleandrin works to treat COVID-19 in humans. Yet Andrew Whitney, an executive at Phoenix Biotechnology, told Axios that oleandrin has been tested on humans for treating COVID-19; the study has just not been published or peer-reviewed yet.

Critics have expressed concern that another snake oil treatment is being pushed as a potential coronavirus cure, even as confirmed cases hit 21.7 million globally, with the death toll passing 775,000.

โ€œThe involvement of the Secretary of HUD and MyPillow.com in pushing a dubious product at the highest levels should give Americans no comfort at night about their health and safety during a raging pandemic,โ€ a senior administration official told Axios.

๐—ง๐—›๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—˜ ๐—œ๐—ฆ ๐—ก๐—ข ๐—˜๐—ฉ๐—œ๐——๐—˜๐—ก๐—–๐—˜ ๐—ง๐—›๐—”๐—ง ๐—ข๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—”๐—ก๐——๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—ก ๐—–๐—”๐—ก ๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—”๐—ง ๐—–๐—ข๐—ฉ๐—œ๐——-๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต ๐—œ๐—ก ๐—›๐—จ๐— ๐—”๐—ก๐—ฆ ๐—ฌ๐—˜๐—ง

So where is the COVID-cure buzz coming from? A July 2020 study out of Texas showed that, in test tubes, oleandrin could inhibit the coronavirus in monkey kidney cells. But this study has not been peer-reviewed or published yet. And while Phoenix Biotechnology exec Whitney also told Axios on Saturday that โ€œwe have providedโ€ human clinical evidence to the FDA, he would not share what that evidence is. The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) also conducted some preliminary testing of oleandrin against SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19). The results were โ€œinconclusive,โ€ a spokesperson told Axios.

โ€œYouโ€™d certainly want to see more work done on this before even contemplating a human trial,โ€ Professor Sharon Lewin, the director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, told Axios.

Whatโ€™s more, one of the authors of the Texas study, Robert Newman, is the chairman of the Phoenix Biotechnology advisory board โ€” the company developing the oleandrin product.

๐—•๐—ข๐—ง๐—ง๐—ข๐—  ๐—Ÿ๐—œ๐—ก๐—˜

Right now, the best prevention for COVID-19 is maintaining a strong immune response through a healthy diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, social distancing, wearing masks in public, avoiding large crowds, and practicing good personal hygiene, particularly frequent hand washing.

๐——๐—ข ๐—ก๐—ข๐—ง ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—–๐—ข๐—ฉ๐—œ๐——-๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ.

According to American Botanical Council (ABC) Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, โ€œTo be clear, ABC applauds appropriate scientific research into medicinal plants and fungi as sources of new medicines. We also acknowledge the very promising medical research conducted by Phoenix Biotechnologies and their oleandrin formulations. However, ABC emphasizes the distinction between a scientifically studied, chemically-defined experimental new drug compound from a widely known poisonous plant and a simple home-made pill, tea, or extract made from the plantโ€™s various parts. With respect to oleander, all parts of the plant are highly toxic, dangerous, and life-threatening when ingested. Consumers should not, ever, try to make a home-made remedy from or self-treat with oleander.โ€

Sources:

1) 4 facts about oleandrin, an unproven coronavirus treatment reportedly pitched to Trump. Aug. 18, 2020. By Nicole Lyn Pesce. MarketWatch.com.

2) Dangerous Oleander Extract Not a COVID-19 Cure. August 18, 2020. By Kristina Fiore. MedPageToday.com.

3) Prophylactic and Therapeutic Inhibition of In Vitro SARS-CoV-2 Replication by Oleandrin
Kenneth S Plante et al. bioRxiv. 2020. PubMed.com.

4) American Botanical Council Warns Consumers about High Toxicity of Oleander. August 18, 2020. By American Botanical Council.

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