Tucker Carlson has begun pushing Vigara as a remedy for coronavirus, because why not at this point.
Carlson, known for trumpeting theatrically conservative conspiracy theories, has spent much of the last two years promoting scepticism of the coronavirus vaccine – all while refusing to disclose his own status.
Last Friday (7 January), he was joined on his Fox News show by Marc Siegal, the broadcaster’s go-to medical contributor known for spreading misinformation and opposing vaccines.
The pair discussed a news story from Britain, where a nurse has reportedly credited Viagra for saving her from life-threatening COVID-19 complications.
Monica Almeida, 37, was induced into a coma due to severe COVID-19. Her parents were reportedly told they should fly from their home in Portugal over to England to say their goodbyes.
With her prognosis bleak, Almeida was given an experimental regimen that included Viagra.
The drug stops the body from making an enzyme that normally breaks down nitric oxide, causing the blood vessels in a penis to dilate. Some preliminary findings suggest that inhaling the gas may help ease COVID-induced lung problems.
However, it is far from a proven treatment – in fact, there is no convincing evidence that it would be useful in the fight against COVID.
“Who thought Viagra would save us from the pandemic?”
Questioning the role the medication played in Almeida’s recovery, Marc Siegel cited a Chilean study on the use of Viagra in COVID-19 cases, as well as other studies on the use of nitric oxide.
“So, I think this is the beginning of something and other studies are going on, and I think this is a potential treatment,” he added.
“I’m getting ready to try it out.”
This, however, might be a little premature.
The study referred to by Siegal was conducted at the Hospital Naval Almirante Nef and Universidad Andres Bello and published in the journal Critical Care.
It saw 40 patients diagnosed with coronavirus experiencing abnormalities in the blood flow to their lungs. Half were given Viagra, while the other half received a placebo.
Thirty-three patients were men, and researchers found no real significant differences between the two groups. Other than those taking Viagra had, on average, a shorter stay in hospital – nine versus 12 days respectively.
But while size doesn’t matter in the bedroom, it certainly does when it comes to medical science. Forty is minuscule in terms of medical trials, far smaller than the usual size the scientific community would consider acceptable to draw conclusions from.
The National Institutes of Health, a federal medical research agency, recommends “against the routine use of inhaled nitric oxide” for “mechanically ventilated adults with COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome”, its COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines state.
Researchers in Britain looking into the gas as a treatment have stressed that “further trials” must be done before it is recommended as a therapeutic option.