The Signorile Report
The Signorile Report
How the cult of ivermectin has only grown

How the cult of ivermectin has only grown

Falsely claimed as a COVID cure, the drug's now used in large doses for other ailments. Some give it to children. Journalist David Gilbert explains how an ivermectin guru recently died, causing panic.

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The conspiracies among anti-vaxers reached a fevered pitch around ivermectin, a drug mostly used as a de-wormer for animals, as Covid vaccines began being administered.

There is no study showing ivermectin prevents Covid-19, but plenty of evidence that it can be harmful, particularly when using veterinary strengh grades of it.

But even now, after the height of the anti-vax Covid conspiracies, there are many people ingesting large doses of ivermectin not just to ward off Covid; they’re taking it as an all around cure for many ailments and as a general health remedy — again with no evidence it cures cancer or the vast array of other ailments and diseases they’re using it to treat — and in dangerous doses. And some are giving it to children as young as three and four years old.

Meanwhile, some GOP politicians and Fox News pundits talk about ivermectin as if it was and is a legitimate alternative to Covid vaccines — when there’s with no science backing up any efficacy and health authorities have warned against it.

It’s become a cult, and one man who was an “ivermectin influencer” with a Telegram channel with hundreds of thousands of followers, Danny Lamoi, recently died after his heart grew to double its size, an outcome of ingesting too much ivermectin.

David Gilbert of Vice came on my SiriusXM radio program to talk about it after he reported on this dangerous online culture, and the death of Lamoi as well as the tens of thousands of people who have followed him, many of whom are panicked, experiencing terrible pain and symptoms themselves.

Since Lamoi’s death, Gilbert says, the administrators of the channel have done what they can to both censor those who are expressing painful symptoms of the drug’s damage and bring new people in, fearful of losing the audience.

There's a lot of parents in the group who are asking for advice about how they give ivermectin to their children,” he says, “which is deeply worrying because that's something over the course of the last week while I've been tracking the group that seems to be increasing in number rather than decreasing.”

Listen in to the discussion. Below is a transcript, slightly condensed, and edited for clarity.

Michelangelo Signorile: So talk a little bit first about ivermectin — because I think a lot of people have just forgotten about this — how, [it emerged as a false cure] at the height of the COVID pandemic, when there were people arguing about vaccines. And a lot of that has died down now. There was all of this talk about people taking ivermectin, but in fact, people have continued to take it. And this individual who died actually was taking it before the COVID pandemic.

David Gilbert: So yeah, Danny Lamoi, who ran a Telegram channel called Dirt Road Discussions. He started taking it a decade ago as an alternative treatment when he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. He was at the time speaking to doctors and he was getting the typical treatment for Lyme disease, but he heard about Ivermectin, and there's not only a human version of ivermectin or formulation of ivermectin. There's a veterinary one. He chose the veterinary one. Among conspiracists they believe that all diseases are caused by parasites in the body and therefore ivermectin —the veterinary ivermectin — is going to target those parasites and bring them out. 

So he decided to treat Lyme disease he was going to use ivermectin and he created this protocol, as he called it, or a dosage where he decided that this was the right amount of ivermectin to give himself. Now, the FDA, the CDC, everyone else has repeatedly said that veterinary ivermectin should never be taken by humans. It's highly concentrated to work in large animals and can be toxic for humans taken in large doses. But throughout the last decade, he continued to take it. 

But it was only at the height of the pandemic when people began looking for alternatives and the anti-vaxxer movement had very successfully managed to create this kind of undermining of the legitimacy of the the vaccine in many people's minds. So people were looking for alternative cures. And so ivermectin became a hugely popular one. And because he had a decade experience of taking it himself, he set up this Telegram channel. It quickly amassed over 100,000 followers. And if you look through it and look through the chats, there are tens of thousands of people who all testify about taking ivermectin and following the protocol that this guy, Danny Lamoi sets out.

MS: So yes, you call him an ivermectin influencer because he obviously has this massive following and 100,000 people and tens of thousands who are talking about it and taking it. What would he tell them about it?

DG: So just to be clear, there has been some research done into the how well Ivermectin could treat COVID. And there's absolutely no evidence to show that either the human formulation or the veterinary formulation is effective against COVID 19, but that, you know, such facts don't don't really matter in these universes. So what he would do in his channel is he would create recipes effectively, which he called protocols, which were telling you the exact amount of the veterinary ivermectin paste that you should ingest per day, how many times you should take it per day. And then along with that, he came up with his own concoction or recipe for hydroxychloroquine. So he told people how to make that and they took that as well. 

Another key part of his protocol was lemon water because that would flush out the parasites once the ivermectin had kind of brought them to the surface. And one other thing is he also created an eye drop that included ivermectin that people could drop directly onto their eyeball, again to take out certain parasites, which is all extremely dangerous. But as I said, tens of thousands of people, you know, swore by this, But at the same time, they also wrote in the chats complaining about headaches or complaining about fevers or pains in their bones or, you know, their heart was beating out of their chest or they were constantly having hot flushes, loads of different examples of side effects of ivermectin that have been documented down through the years.

MS: And they believed, as you describe it, that these were simply, I guess, positive side effects, That it was “herxing,” something called “herxing,” which is a real thing that is a side effect of taking a drugs that cure Lyme disease, antibiotics. Talk about that.

DG: This was a way of — obviously if people continuously wrote in the chats about how they're having headaches and nausea and dizziness and blurry vision, all these things, then people would quickly turn off ivermectin and they wouldn't take it. So to overcome that, Danny Lamoi and the admins on the channel would constantly push the idea that what people were experiencing was a thing called herxing. And as you say,  that is an actual real word for a reaction that you get during the treatment for Lyme disease. What they said is if there were any negative side effect that people were experiencing, they simply dismissed it as herxing, saying that this is the parasite's last dying dance, that this is what they are doing on the way out of your body. You just have to go through this one extra step of even worse pain than you were in before, and then you will be fine. 

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MS: Tell us about [Danny Lamoi’s] death and what happened and how ivermectin had affected his heart.

DG: On the 3rd of March, just last Friday week, he posted on the channel a message about, you know, ‘Happy Friday to all you poisonous horse paste survivors,” I think is how he described it. And then a meme showing sheep basically. So the rest of us are sheep because we're all following western medicine. But then sadly, a couple of hours later, he was dead. His family, two.

MS: Hours after he post, two hours after he posted that?

DG: A couple of hours after he posted that. Yeah. So his family put up an obituary, and they simply said that he passed away suddenly. They didn't reveal any more information about how he died. And when I tried to contact the family, they didn't respond to me. But the admins in his channel then, who have been in touch with his family, who had talked to them, they posted a message saying that his heart had been overworking and had grown to almost double the size than it that it should have been.But they dismissed out of hand the idea that that had anything to do with the fact that he had been taking ivermectin for the last ten years. They criticized anyone who dared suggest such a thing.

MS: Wow. Now, since then, a lot of his followers are worried because, as you say, they've been having pain. You quote one person saying, “I'm four months now and all hell is breaking loose. All pain has hit my wrist, my waist down with sciatic shin splints, restless leg syndrome, tight sore calves. And it feels like some pain in the bones”. And that, again, people thinking it's herxing, but then others talking about other kinds of things that are happening to them. And some of them are are worried, obviously, that something similar is happening that happened to him.

DG: They are. In the days after, Danny Lamoi died, the channel was just — people initially were grieving and posting how much they, you know, loved him and how much they valued his, his advice. But then slowly over maybe a week later, they started posting messages questioning how he died or why he died. And then they started posting more messages like the one you just read out where they're, you know, detailing the pain that they were going through. 

And while some of those messages remain, a lot of them were actually deleted by the admins and the channel who had announced that they were going to continue running the channel even after Danny Lamoi’s death and that they were going to because there's hundreds of thousands of people following us, or 130,000 people or 140,000 people at the moment following it. And so there's a huge amount of power there for the admins to control where the conversation goes. 

So when people posted saying that they were worried about the side effects of this thing, you know, “What had happened to Danny, we have lots of questions” those posts were quickly deleted and some of the people were kicked out of the channel. The channel is continuing to push this information about ivermectin. It's continuing to give out advice. 

There's a lot of parents in the group who are asking for advice about how they give ivermectin to their children, which is deeply worrying because that's something over the course of the last week while I've been tracking the group that seems to be increasing in number rather than decreasing.

MS: And it's so dangerous. And you talk about how he he formulated this regimen for children and you write about one member who wrote that she had established another group for parents of children on the spectrum, cerebral palsy, panda, downs, et cetera. These are serious issues and they're using Ivermectin for it.

DG: And it's just really worrying to see the number of people who are asking for information about kids as young as three and four years of age. Wow. And how to deal with that and how to deal, as you say, with with conditions that are, you know, really complex and very, very difficult to treat by experts. And you have people in these groups, running these groups who are not medical experts and who are giving out advice as if they know exactly what they're saying.

MS: Is there anything legally that can be done about this when you have people putting out information that is harming people and they're not medical authorities?

DG: Doesn’t seem like there is. Telegram is is a wild west. It. It allows much, if you can imagine, much worse stuff than this. There is very little moderation. Unless they're specifically breaking a law. which, at the moment, it doesn't appear that they are, then they're going to be allowed to continue to, to run this channel without any objections.

MS: And people can legally get ivermectin. That's the other issue as well.

DG: Yeah. Ivermectin, there's no problem getting. They even offer in the channels themselves. They have two or three brands of veterinary ivermectin paste that they recommend and they post links to websites where you can get it. And they're also advertising apricot kernels as a cure for cancer, even though eating large quantities of apricot kernels risks cyanide poisoning inside the body.

MS: You can't see my body jolting like, you know, every 30 seconds through this entire interview. It's horrifying. And it's important to to reveal it and talk about it. And I'm glad you're covering it. Thank you for coming back on the program. I realize we've had you on before. Thanks so much for coming on today.