Hatred of former President Donald Trump has kept researchers from looking into the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin and other drugs to treat COVID-19, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told constituents on Friday.
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have warned people using ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasitic worm infections in humans and livestock, is dangerous. The FDA went as far as tweeting out a reminder on August 21, "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it."
But Paul encouraged more research.
"The hatred for Trump deranged these people so much, that they're unwilling to objectively study it," Paul said to the 60 people squeezed into the Cold Spring City Council chambers in this Northern Kentucky suburb just south of Cincinnati. "So someone like me that's in the middle on it, I can't tell you because they will not study ivermectin. They will not study hydroxychloroquine without the taint of their hatred for Donald Trump."
'Kind of a lunatic':Sen. Sherrod Brown calls out Sen. Rand Paul for not wearing a mask
It's also why they don't research hydroxychloroquine, he said, an anti-malarial drug touted by Trump as a treatment.
Sen. Rand Paul on ivermectin: 'I don't know if it works, but I keep an open mind'
The World Health Organization in April found based on six clinical trials that hydroxychloroquine "had little or no effect on preventing illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19."
A woman in the audience had asked Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, why ivermectin wasn't more available. The woman said she had some ivermectin stashed away "just in case."
Sen. Rand Paul tells NKY cops:Media, many in public portray police as '99% bad'
Paul told her he didn't know if it works because there isn't enough research. When asked by The Enquirer after the meetings about the FDA and CDC warnings on ivermectin, Paul reiterated what he said in the town hall
"I don't know if it works, but I keep an open mind," Paul said.
One treatment Paul and the nation's top infectious disease expert agree on is monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 in the early stages of the infection. But other than that, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Paul don't get along and have had very public clashes over the nation's COVID-19 response.
Paul on COVID-19 shot: 'I think I'm in the middle ground of the vaccines'
Paul spent a large portion of the town hall criticizing vaccine and mask mandates. Paul encouraged older people to get vaccinated but said it's a personal choice. Those who already had COVID-19, like Paul who contracted the disease last year, don't need it, Paul said.
A study published in early August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the virus compared with people who were fully vaccinated after contracting the virus.
Paul did encourage older people to get vaccinated but maintained his stance that it's personal choice and shouldn't be mandated.
"I think I'm in the middle ground of the vaccines," Paul said. "CNN invites me on all the time. They have announcers calling me an 'ass' on TV. Then they have doctors saying I'm thoroughly anti-vaccine. You heard me, I'm not against the vaccine. I've already recommended if you're at risk to take it...It's still your choice if its a free country."