- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tested positive for COVID-19 last week and took an herbal supplement that remains an unproven coronavirus treatment, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
- Carson took oleandrin based on the advice of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has a financial stake in the company that develops the product.
- Lindell, a major supporter of President Donald Trump who has no background in medicine or science, has pushed the product despite the FDA's "significant concerns" about its safety.
- Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, swore by the remedy, telling The Post that his symptoms "disappeared" within hours of taking it.
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When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tested positive for coronavirus last week, he heeded the advice of Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow who lacks a background in medicine and science.
"I heard about the oleander extract from Mike," Carson told The Washington Post.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, took the herbal extract that Lindell has enthusiastically pushed, even though it's not proven to be an effective or safe treatment for COVID-19.
Lindell, also known as the "MyPillow guy," promoted oleandrin, which is derived from the highly toxic oleandar plant, Business Insider previously reported. The major Trump donor and Minnesota campaign chairman has touted the therapeutic as a cure, though there is still no known cure for the coronavirus.
The entrepreneur benefits from sales of the herbal extract because he has a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnology, the company that develops the product, and is also a board member.
Lindell, along with Carson, had nudged the president to get FDA approval of the unproven supplement earlier this year. Scientific experts were alarmed over the push and have advised against taking the product.
The FDA ultimately blocked Phoenix Biotechnology's bid, citing "significant concerns" about the product's safety, CNN reported.
Carson, however, swore by the remedy, and told The Post that his symptoms "disappeared" within hours of taking it.
"Anybody who has ever gotten Covid and taken it, they are fine in five hours, and the next day are running around playing floor hockey in the hallway," Lindell said, though again, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim.
Carson contracted the virus following a White House election night party that has been linked to several other confirmed cases, including Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee staffers, White House personnel, and campaign advisers.
At the time of publishing, Carson and Lindell had not responded to Insider's requests for comment.