USA Today Publishes Deceptive Fact Check About The Relationship Between Molnupiravir and Ivermectin

Executive Summary

  • USA Today has constantly been producing deceptive fact checks on coronavirus questions.
  • Their fact check of Molnupiravir is yet another example of this.


USA Today performs biased criticism of legitimate observations for the wealthy and powerful. They call these biased criticism “fact-checking.”

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USA Today Begins by Making the Claim Overly Narrow

The claim: Merck’s new COVID-19 drug molnupiravir is ivermectin repurposed
A new contender has entered the fight against the novel coronavirus. On Oct. 1, an antiviral drug made by Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in Miami was found to cut the risk of hospitalization or death in half for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection.

The twice-daily, five-day course of molnupiravir – a name inspired by Mjölnir, the hammer of the mythological Norse thunder god Thor – was effective not only against the predominant Delta virus strain but other variants of concern like Gamma and Mu.

The drug’s promising results are expected to greenlight its emergency use authorization. But some social media users are less than thrilled, claiming Merck’s new COVID-19 drug is actually not new at all.

Ivermectin is more effective than this, and the studies for it are more reliable than a study performed by a pharmaceutical company that has a long history of rigging clinical trials. Why isn’t Ivermectin being approved for covid — yes, there is no financial incentive to do so.

Repackaging Versus Inspiration and Copied From

“Looks like Merck is repackaging the ‘horse drug’ and making it more expensive! It will be the ‘new’ treatment for (COVID-19) in pill form,” reads an Oct. 2 Facebook post, referring to Merck’s antiparasitic drug ivermectin, which made headlines for its unproven use and potentially dangerous against the virus.

The post asserts that in repurposing ivermectin, Merck has simply changed the drug’s “formula just a bit to rebrand and patent.” It also claims the federal government has designs to buy up to $3.7 billion worth of the medication, citing a screenshot of a viral Oct. 1 tweet that accompanies the post.

The Facebook post was shared more than 300 times in 10 days, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool.

But it’s completely untrue.

Molnupiravir and ivermectin aren’t the same by any stretch. The drugs are made up of different chemicals, and they work differently to fight different pathogens.

I do not recall ever making this specific claim that Molnupiravir is Ivermectin. This is the pattern of USA Today and other fact-checkers. They find a claim that they can disprove without addressing the far more common claim, which is true. Molnupiravir was copied from Ivermectin as a therapeutic against covid. But that does not mean they are the same drug. This is the first time I have heard anyone make that claim.

The History of Molnupiravir

A synthetic drug developed against viruses
Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug first developed in 2003 by researchers at Drug Innovation Ventures, a nonprofit biotech company affiliated with Emory University in Atlanta

Early studies showed the small, synthetic molecule was potent against viruses known as RNA viruses, which use a genetic material similar to DNA. These viruses include hepatitis C, seasonal and pandemic flu viruses and coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome, MedPage Today reported.

Molnupiravir works similarly to how some anti-HIV drugs, called nucleoside analogs, work – by preventing a virus from growing and spreading.

When absorbed into the body, molnupiravir is broken down into one of the building blocks that make up RNA. This building block, much like constructing a building with Lego bricks, inserts itself into the virus’ genetic material and introduces mutations that impair the virus’ structural integrity and its ability to survive.

Before being diverted toward the COVID-19 effort, molnupiravir was being tested as a treatment for influenza. In studies looking at ferrets and human airway cells infected with influenza, not only did the drug appear to prevent the virus from replicating, it also prevented antiviral drug resistance, a problem often encountered with antiviral flu drugs.

Ivermectin created to treat parasitic diseases, not viruses.

Notice how the author for the USA today treats Molnupiravir versus Ivermectin when it comes to a repurposed drug. Ivermectin has proven effective against many things, as we cover in the article The Cancers for Which Ivermectin Has Proven to be Effective.

Molnupiravir is also much less safe than Ivermectin, something the USA Today article leaves out. Outside of the profits of pharmaceutical companies, there is no reason to approve Molnupiravir when we have Ivermectin. That $3.8 billion spent by the government is nothing but waste and will lead to much worse outcomes than if the government just purchased Ivermectin.

Which Drug Is More Effective Against Covid?

Unlike molnupiravir, ivermectin is most effective against parasitic worms, primarily killing them by binding to proteins lining a parasite’s muscle and nerve cells. Ivermectin’s binding makes these nerve and muscle cells more porous, causing paralysis and death in the parasite, according to DrugBank Online, a drug information database.