Hippocrates in mask

A retired cardiologist, and one of the Keys’ most recognized doctors, touched off a Category 5 social media storm on July 28 with a Facebook post that called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “fraud” and accused “Big Pharma” of a “major cover up.”

The post promptly went viral and garnered more than 1,000 comments in the first 13 hours, with Facebook users accusing Boros of parroting the conservative rhetoric of “America’s Frontline Doctors,” a controversial doctors group that minimizes the importance of face masks and encouraged the use of an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19 despite concerns from clinical trials about the drug’s effectiveness and possible side effects. 

Boros’ post also garnered hundreds of supportive comments from users who congratulated him for pursuing any and all treatments for COVID patients and thanking him for his continued support of Key West residents. 

Dr. Luis E. Augsten, a Marathon cardiologist, told Keys Weekly, “I do not agree with using hydroxychloroquine in the general population without strict controls and an electrocardiogram, along with a warning that they are at risk for sudden cardiac death syndrome.”

Many comments following Boros’s post also pointed out that one of the doctors associated with America’s Frontline Doctors has claimed people’s dreams about demons and witches affect their health, and said that “alien DNA” was used in clinical trials. The group’s website was taken down by July 29 and a video they circulated was removed by Facebook and Twitter. 

Keys Weekly spoke at length with Boros on July 29 and asked him to explain his statements about Big Pharma and Fauci, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and has become the nation’s authority on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boros, who was incensed by the vitriol of comments posted by former patients, neighbors and friends, repeated his accusation that Fauci is a fraud “because his NIAID is taking money from groups like Gilead Sciences, a drug company that makes remdesivir,” which, Boros said, is the only drug Fauci has endorsed by name.

“He’s never mentioned any other drugs that doctors in other countries are finding success with, including Ivermectin, which has been around for 40 years, only costs $4 a pill and is used to treat pinworms, lice and scabies in children, because there’s no money in Ivermectin for Big Pharma,” Boros told Keys Weekly. “But I’m getting raked over the coals for wanting to try alternative medications that have been shown to work in people in other countries.”

“It breaks my heart that a town like this has made something so political and hateful,” Boros said. “What’s wrong with people? I just want to help patients and keep them from dying.”

He added that he gave a seriously ill COVID patient from Key West ivermectin and “within six hours he was talking without coughing.”

Boros also emphasized that unlike America’s Frontline Doctors, he is not anti-mask and told the Key West City Commission last week that masks are critical.

Another respected Key West doctor, Dr. Mehmet Atilla, spoke with Keys Weekly and acknowledged there were promising lab results with Ivermectin, but no clinical trials as yet in its treatment of COVID-19.

“There is no question that Ivermectin was very effective in lab testing, but whether that will translate into benefit is questionable,” Attila said. “The question is, as a physician, whether you can recommend any medication to a person with COVID-19 infection without proven clinical benefit even if the medicine has reasonably few side effects. In my opinion, the answer is no, because patients are not test subjects, and medicine must be based on science. Any other way would open the doors to unproven treatments based on personal belief that can harm the patient.”

Attila agrees with Boros that, “We should never allow the politicization of medicine and science, as it will cause irreparable damage to science.”

But Atilla and Augsten disagree passionately with Boros’ statements about Fauci.

“Dr. Fauci is highly respected and a great doctor who has been working on these types of problems for many years and is recognized by every credible source in not only America, but the world,” Augsten said. “He is an expert and to call him a fraud is horrible, just horrible.”

Attila added that Fauci is the main editor of “one of the best comprehensive medical books ever written, ‘Harrison’s Internal Medicine,’ also known as ‘the Bible of medicine.’ At age 79, he is genuinely trying to help the nation to get COVID-19 under control. He is helping pharmaceutical companies to facilitate the production of an effective vaccine and treatments. 

“The claims that he is an extension of pharmaceutical companies are disgraceful statements that are political and very insulting to the medical and scientific community.

“I hope we will find great therapeutics and a vaccine to this disaster that stole a portion of our lives from us as a world. I genuinely hope that Ivermectin will be proven to be effective clinically. it will be a great option for the treatment of thousands who suffered from this illness. Until then, we must rely on science for the safety of our patients.”

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