Maduro's 'miracle' treatment for COVID-19 draws skeptics

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro appears to be counting on yet another “miracle” to save his citizens from COVID-19

“Ten drops under the tongue every four hours and the miracle is done,” Maduro said in a televised appearance on Sunday. “It’s a powerful antiviral, very powerful, that neutralizes the coronavirus.”

The new coronavirus hasn't hit Venezuela as hard as other South American countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, though many experts say that's likely because sanctions against Maduro's government have sharply limited travel there.

Maduro said the treatment, which he called carvativir, has been under testing for nine months among Venezuelans ill with the coronavirus. He said he plans to distribute it nationwide and to other nations as well.

Dr. David Boulware, professor of medicine and an infectious diseases physician at the University of Minnesota Medical School, noted the lack of scientific evidence.

“This is, just as with other things, people trying to sell, you know, some magic beans as the solution to a complex problem," Boulware told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "This would be great if it worked, but I would like to see the data.”

Venezuela's National Academy of Medicine said “it's prudent ... to wait for more data from the carvativir tests according to international protocols.”

Since October, Venezuela has been part of trials for the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, a staunch ally of Maduro's government. Venezuela signed a contract in December with Russia to buy the vaccine, but inoculations aren't scheduled to start until April.

“I'm of the mind that we need the vaccine, not these droplets,” she said. “I think that won't have any effect.”