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Australian TV network apologises for suggesting Queen took dewormer drug ivermectin to treat COVID

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) speaks with incoming Defence Service Secretaries Major General Eldon Millar (R) during an in-person audience at the Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on February 16, 2022. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen pictured last week just days before it was announced she had coronavirus. (AFP via Getty Images) (STEVE PARSONS via Getty Images)

An Australian television network has issued an apology after one of its news reports suggested the Queen was taking deworming drug ivermectin to treat her coronavirus infection.

On Sunday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen, who is 95, had tested positive for COVID-19.

She cancelled her planned virtual engagements on Tuesday as she is still experiencing mild cold-like symptoms, a spokesperson said.

On Monday evening, an Australian news report broadcast on the Nine Network wrongly contained a suggestion that the Queen has been using ivermectin.

The anti-parasitic drug, which can be used to treat worm infections in humans, as well as infestations such as head lice, is also used as a deworming agent on horses and cows, and sometimes cats and dogs.

Anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown groups have wrongly claimed that ivermectin is an effective treatment against coronavirus, despite medical authorities in several nations insisting it should not be used in this way.

Celebrities such as US podcaster Joe Rogan and British actor Laurence Fox claim to have taken the drug to treat their COVID-19 infection.

Watch: Laurence Fox says people are 'racist' for criticising ivermectin

Read more: Luxury hotel boss says staff should come to work even if they have COVID

A segment on the Nine Network programme A Current Affair on Monday, which discussed the Queen, showed footage of the drug Stromectol, which contains ivermectin and is used to treat roundworm infections.

The shot immediately followed an image of the drug Sotrovimab, which has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 infections.

In an apology, the Nine Network said: “Last night our report on the Queen contained a shot that should not have been included.

“The shot was included as a result of human error.

“We were highlighting an approved infusion medication called Sotrovimab and the report accidentally cut to a shot of Stromectol - a product which contains ivermectin.

“As a program we've done numerous stories highlighting the concerns around taking ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

“We do not suggest the Queen is using ivermectin.”

This picture shows the tablets of Ivermectin drugs in Tehatta, West Benga, India on 19 May on 2021. Some Indian state governments have plans to dose their populations with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to protect against severe COVID-19 infections as their hospitals are overrun with patients in critical condition. But, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against the use of this medicine in treating COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Several medical authorities have advised against treating COVID patients with the drug Ivermectin. (Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Read more: Only 17% of people think Boris Johnson should scrap COVID isolation laws

Last August, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Americans not to take the unapproved drug, saying: “The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalisation, after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.”

Following false claims about ivermectin’s benefits to COVID-19 patients, the FDA tweeted: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.”

In the latest research around ivermectin, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal last Friday, Malaysian scientists found that the drug did not prevent patients with COVID-19 from becoming severely ill.

A UK trial into ivermectin’s effects on COVID-19 patients is currently being carried out by the University of Oxford.

The UK’s medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has not recommended its use among coronavirus patients.

Last March, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advised against using ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

In the same month, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised that ivermectin is only used to treat COVID-19 patients within clinical trials.

Watch: COVID-hit Queen cancels planned virtual engagements