People who claim they were cured of coronavirus by hydroxychloroquine have come forward in support of doctors who have been "attacked" for saying the controversial drug works.
Dr Stella Immanuel, one of the doctors who went viral for saying she'd cured COVID-19, took to Twitter to ask for people's help, with friends and family of survivors also coming forward.
"We are being attacked, ridiculed and discredited," she said.
"We need our patients to SPEAK UP. If you have been cured by this drug, share your story online using this hashtag. #HCQWorks."
The Houston GP said she had successfully treated more than 350 coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.
Hydroxychloroquine is used for treatment of malaria and certain auto-immune diseases but doctors have claimed it works for Covid-19.
It's also gained the support of President Donald Trump and other politicians.
In Australia its use for treatment of Covid-19 is considered "off-label".
"There is currently no clear data to inform clinical guidance on the use, dosing, or duration for COVID-19 treatment," the Therapeutic Goods Administration says.
Chris Milburn was one of the survivors who came forward in reply to Dr Immanuel's tweet and others from the group calling themselves America's Frontline Doctors.
The 58-year-old retired Deputy Sheriff from Columbus, Ohio, said he tested positive for coronavirus on April 6.
"I started out with fever and chills and then progressed to a cough and cough with phlegm and blood," he told news.com.au.
"Within 12 hours of being tested I received news I tested positive. Within an hour my primary care doctor got the same positive test result I received.
"At that time he called in the script for the hydroxychloroquine."
But on April 12 Mr Milburn's symptoms were getting worse. He was having shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
"I went to the emergency room and they admitted me to the hospital that evening," he said.
Milburn said he was given 500mg of hydroxychloroquine twice a day and on the morning of April 13 the infectious disease doctor saw him, kept him on hydroxychloroquine but added a Zithromax drip to the treatment.
He said he was released on April 16 and sent home with a 10-day supply of hydroxychloroquine.
On May 4 he was tested for coronavirus and cleared.
"I was told I was carrying the antibodies now," he said,
"I'm able to donate blood plasma to anybody in need. I don't wear a mask because I'm carrying the antibodies, I'm not susceptible to contracting it anymore or passing it on to anyone."
Milburn said doctors in his area were very much behind the use of the drug.
"I trusted my primary care doctor to make the right decision for me," he said.
"I have my no doubt it cured me. I'm fully behind the doctors speaking up and the government getting behind the use of hydroxychloroquine."
He said the medicine was just 63 US cents a pill.
But not all doctors are convinced.
Emergency medicine doctor Anand Swaminathan said the hydroxychloroquine propaganda from America's Frontline Doctors was complete nonsense, while another emergency doctor, Cleavon Gilman, said he treated patients with the drug and it did not work.
ER doctor Sam Ghali said: "Just to be crystal clear the best scientific data we have on the use of #Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment and/or prevention of Covid-19, whether used alone or in combination with other drugs, show that it does NOT work".
Other people who came forward in support of the drug included one woman who said her friend was diagnosed with Covid-19, put on hydroxychloroquine and within a few hours was feeling better.
Another said she was treated successfully by Dr Vladimir Zelenko, the doctor credited with bringing controversial malaria drug to Trump's attention.
One woman said her uncle was given hydroxychloroquine for seven days and was doing fine after a rough first two days.
Trump was today asked about his retweet promoting Dr Immanuel yesterday, causing him to abruptly ended a media briefing on the coronavirus.
Trump and his son, Donald Jr, both shared video footage from her speech that was taken down from social media platforms.
"I think they're very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular," the President said. He did not specify which woman he was talking about.
CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins then asked him specifically about Dr Immanuel.
"Mr President, the woman that you said is a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said that masks don't work and there is a cure for Covid-19, both of which health experts say is not true," Collins said.
"She's also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens, and that they're trying to make a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious. So what is the logic in retweeting that?"
"I can tell you this. She was on air, along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine," Trump replied.
"And I thought she was very impressive in the sense that, from where she came – I don't know which country she comes from – but she said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients, and I thought her voice was an important voice.
"But I know nothing about her," he added.
The President then pointed to CBS reporter Paula Reid and told her to "go ahead", clearly intending to take another question. But Reid yielded to Collins, giving her a chance to ask a follow-up.
"But she said masks don't work, and last week you said, real quick, last week you said masks -" Collins started to say.
"OK, thank you very much everyone," said Trump, turning and walking out of the room.
But Trump's support for Dr Immanuel comes with dangers after it was revealed she has also made a range of other bizarre medical claims.
Dr Immanuel, a paediatrician and religious minister, says a issues such as cysts are caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons, while claiming alien DNA is being used in current medical treatments.
She also claims scientists are creating a vaccine to prevent people from being religious and says goverment's are run by "reptilians".
- Reporting by news.com.au and NZ Herald