Thousands of people in the Amazon have reportedly fallen ill after they took a drug dished out by evangelical Christians – who claimed it was a coronavirus vaccine.
Reports coming out of Peru’s Amazonian region claim people were given injections of ivermectin – a drug used for parasitic infections, which also has notable side effects.
According to claims, 5,000 people in the town of Natua received the injections that had also been praised by the local mayor.
Leonardo Tello, the director of the local Radio Ucamara, said: “The side effects have been terrible.”
He added: “Since May the mayor of the province and an evangelic alliance have called citizens, using radio stations, to be vaccinated with ivermectin as if it were a vaccine against coronavirus.
“In Nauta, at least 5,000 people have received it.”
Mr Tello continued, adding that many of those who received the injection had suffered from an increased heart rate and others claim to have had diarrhoea as a side effect.
The director said local evangelicals had said the coronavirus was linked to the devil and even the end of the world and that their supposed treatment offered “salvation”.
Watson Trujillo, the head of the indigenous community in the region, said: “Almost everybody here had coronavirus symptoms and they are fighting against it with homemade medicine.”
Peru’s Ministry of Health has already warned about ivermectin and said that it has not met all requirements for human use.
A spokesman said: “Ivermectin for animals should not be used as a replacement for ivermectin for use on human beings in order to treat coronavirus.”
The Peruvian Amazon region is home to about one million people and about 300,000 of whom are from indigenous tribes.
Clinical trials are being carried out into Ivermectin as treatment for coronavirus, according to Nature.
That said, the drug has gone on to be used by many people in South America as the virus continues to ravage the continent.
Brazil in particular has had a torrid time since the spike in cases earlier this month happened.