The body is a temple–and Colorado state Representative Rod Pelton (R-Cheyenne Wells) worships his by choosing to forego a COVID-19 vaccine in favor of taking an equine anti-parasitic medication as a “preventive” measure against the virus.
The state lawmaker hailing from Eastern Colorado took to Facebook last Friday to post an article on how the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin showed promise in a spring study against COVID.
Pelton captioned the post stating that he and his wife “are using ivermectin as a preventive.”
In the comments, Pelton told another user that he and his wife are “using horse ivermectin paste and you can buy it from any feed store.”
An anti-parasitic drug originating from a microorganism native to Japanese soil, ivermectin is seen as a “wonder drug,” attacking parasitic disease across the globe, especially in tropical developing countries.
The drug is also widely used for livestock and pets. In the U.S., you can’t buy ivermectin for yourself without a prescription–unless you buy over-the-counter veterinary ivermectin.
The article Pelton linked to in his Facebook post is totally legitimate, but its headline is far from the full story.
The study on ivermectin referenced by Pelton was done in vitro, meaning in a test tube or laboratory dish, which doesn’t translate to how something works in the human body.
Dr. David Kroll, a pharmacologist and professor at the CU Anschutz Skaggs School of Pharmacy, told the Colorado Times Recorder that this is the study’s “fatal flaw.”
“….Regardless of what concentration that it works in the cell culture system, you can’t extrapolate that to a human being,” said Kroll.
Kroll explained that the cells tested in the study are called Vero cells, which are African green monkey kidney cells.
“…African green monkey kidney cells are not lung cells. And later in the year, last year, there was a paper in Nature… that showed that something that inhibits the virus in Vero cells doesn’t inhibit the virus in lung cells, human lung cells,” said Kroll. “Turns out that there’s two ways to get the SARS virus into your cells, and the green monkey cells only have one of those two mechanisms.”
This means that even if ivermectin is highly successful at stopping COVID in a test tube of Vero cells, it won’t necessarily have any meaningful impact against COVID in the human lungs.
However, there’s no need to worry about Pelton experiencing any dangerous side effects from self-medicating with Ivermectin, says Kroll, claiming that the drug is actually very safe.
“This is a drug that’s been approved in humans, and it actually has a very good safety profile,” said Kroll. “So at the very least, the representative is simply wasting his money.”
Kroll also told the Colorado Times Recorder that while getting ivermectin from a feed store is “not advisable,” the FDA does regulate veterinary drug, although the regulations are less stringent, and it’s against federal law to use veterinary drugs on humans.
Kroll did caution against using ivermectin as a miracle prevention drug, because it could promote a “false sense of security.”
“…Does having something that you think is protecting you, gonna lead you to have a little less discipline with masking and social distancing guidelines?” Kroll asked. “Is it gonna give you a false sense of security? To me, that’s the only real, kind of, health limitation or health adverse effect of ivermectin.”
“So at best, it’s irresponsible of [Pelton] to recommend that other people do the same,” said Kroll.
The FDA and the NIH both strictly warn individuals against self-medicating with ivermectin to prevent contracting COVID, except in clinical trials. A commenter on Pelton’s post shared the FDA warning, saying “Good Luck, at least you won’t have worms or scabies.”
Although there are some clinical studies that have been done or are in the works on ivermectin in COVID patients, there are no conclusive results. Some researchers believe the drug could hold potential, but more research is needed first.
This comes after Pelton told radio host John Waters on the Big Morning Show last Monday that he is not planning on taking the vaccine, supporting his choice with false information.
“I myself, I’m not gonna take the vaccine,” said Pelton. “This RNA formulation that they’re coming up with–there’s a possibility it may manipulate your DNA, it may not.”
The mRNA Pelton refers to cannot genetically modify cells in your body. According to vaccine alliance Gavi, Reuters, and APNews, the mRNA vaccine works by introducing what one expert describes as the virus’ “recipe card” (that’s the mRNA) to our immune cells, allowing our immune system to create proteins to fight that genetic sequence.
There are also COVID vaccines in development at the moment that don’t use mRNA, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“…This thing was ran through pretty darn quick, and the Pharma manufacturers are exempt from liability, and in my mind, anytime there’s risk, there has to be choice,” said Pelton.
The rapid development of the vaccine isn’t from cutting corners. It’s from extensive pre-existing knowledge on other coronaviruses, mRNA vaccine development already in the works for more than a decade before the outbreak, adequate funding for vaccine studies, large amounts of people volunteering for vaccine trials, and global collaboration.
“There have been reports of people taking it, you know, some of the frontline workers and things like that, that are having adverse allergic reactions; I saw an article last night about a nurse that has passed away from it,” Pelton said.
According to the CDC, there are about 11.1 cases of anaphylaxis out of 1 million vaccine injections. All cases have recovered, and those who receive the vaccine, especially those with a tendency towards severe allergic reactions, are monitored afterwards.
A nurse did not die from the COVID vaccine. The nurse that Pelton likely refers to passed out after her vaccination due to a medical condition she already had.
Pelton did not respond to a voicemail and an email requesting comment and additional information on his post.