Did Fauci Send an Email Touting Hydroxychloroquine as a COVID Treatment?

An Instagram post from popular QAnon account JOKAQARMY claims that on March 1, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases “sent an attachment titled ‘HCQ, A Modest Proposal for Mitigating COVID-19 2.0.pdf.”


HCQ is a common abbreviation for hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to combat malaria that was controversially heralded as a possible miracle cure and prophylactic for coronavirus by President Donald Trump. Hydroxychloroquine was found to be ineffective against the coronavirus, and is not advised for use to treat COVID-19 because of the risk of cardiac events.

Dr. Stella Immanuel, whom the Instagram post suggests is owed an apology, made headlines after appearing at a press conference hosted by group America’s Frontline Doctors, at which she claimed hydroxychloroquine was a cure for coronavirus. Immanuel has a history of promoting outlandish medical conspiracy theories. Trump shared a video of Immanuel talking about hydroxychloroquine on social media, as did other members of his team. 

Many of Fauci’s emails were recently made public following Freedom of Information Act requests by media outlets including Buzzfeed, the Washington Post, and CNN. On March 1, 2020, Fauci did send an email with the aforementioned attachment. He did not, however, write the piece, nor did he indicate support for it: The article was sent to Fauci by Dr. Alexander Morden, a health care professional from outside the NIAID. Fauci forwarded Morden’s email with the attachment to Dr. Cristina Cassetti, deputy director of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Fauci’s email to Cassetti simply said: “Please take a look and do what you feel is appropriate.” The FOIA’d emails show that Fauci frequently forwarded emails about potential coronavirus therapies from individuals outside the National Institutes of Health to Cassetti, asking her to handle them. “Let me refer the e-mail to Cristina Cassetti who is in charge of the COVID-19 issues in our program,” Fauci said in one such email.

The Instagram post is correct that Fauci sent an email that included an attachment about hydroxychloroquine. He did not, however, indicate support for the attached article in the email. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.

Comments (11)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More