A doctor for conspiracy theories

The Protiv Novog Svetskog Poretka (Against New World Order) Facebook page posted on April 22 a video from the Next News Network TV show with dr. Rashid Buttar. Within fifty minutes, dr. Buttar made many assertions on the novel coronavirus, following many conspiracy theories including those already famous, like 5G network, Bill Gates, vaccination, and tracking chips. The initial video of the show was taken down from YouTube because it violated the platform’s Community Guidelines. However, one part of the video of the TV show, posted on that Facebook page, was translated to our language and gained huge popularity on that platform. In the moment of writing of this article, the video has 250 thousand views and 5.783 shares. On Saturday, April 25, Marko Milacic shared the video on his Facebook page, where it got 300 shares more.

Who is Rashid Buttar?

The video is debatable not only because it promotes numerous conspiracy theories and unverified claims, but also because of a controversial personality of dr. Buttar. In fact, dr. Buttar graduated from both biology and theology, and later on from osteopathy, but he has no qualifications in the field of medicine. He has been known as a great fan of conspiracy theories and a supporter of specific alternative treatments in medicine, which are frequently ineffective and may have fatal outcomes. For example, dr. Buttar advocates for treating child autism with chelation therapy, i.e. removing heavy metals from the body because he believes that autism is caused by a huge amount of mercury in an organism that needs to be removed. Relevant medical institutions consider that method ineffective for treating autism and even potentially risky.

The North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners charged dr. Buttar in April 2008 of “unethical conduct towards four patients with cancer”, and after the hearing, the decision on his suspension has been stayed. Buttar did not lose his license, but he was imposed three restrictions –  cease the use of hydrogen peroxide (which he normally used in his work), stop treating any cancer patients and children less than 18 years of age. Because of the previous four cases and the treatment of minors with autism without previously examining them, the Board formally reprimanded dr. Buttar in 2010, even though he was permitted to continue with his work.

Moreover, on his website dr. Buttar claims (which was even highlighted by the host in the video) being one of the top 50 doctors in the USA. The site states that “the Phillips Publishing and Health Directions Inc. companies, as well as cardiologist Steven Sinatra, listed dr. Buttar as one of the top 50 doctors in the USA”, but there is no evidence or relevant source to support that.

SARS-CoV-2 engineered in a lab

Apart from other claims in the video, dr. Buttar devoted most of his time to revealing the truth behind the novel coronavirus and proving the claim that the coronavirus was created in a lab.

Claiming that he started his investigation behind the coronavirus after many people had asked him to find the truth, dr. Buttar explained that he discovered that “the novel coronavirus was actually a chimeric version, something that was developed in the United States and in 2015 and it was published in Nature magazine, despite having a moratorium by the US Government to prevent any chimeric research – taking natural substances of a virus, and then mutating it, genetically modifying it, changing its configuration morphologically to gain function (gain-of-function research). That basically means that they are making something that already may have some potential to cause harm, making it more harmful, more virulent, more resistant“.

The research that the host and dr. Buttar refers to was published in Nature magazine in 2015, and on March 20, 2020, it was updated with the editors’ note: “We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.”

Additionally, a new analysis on the SARS-CoV-2 genome did not find any proof of it being a laboratory engineered or intentionally manipulated virus.

Apart from the theory on the engineering of the novel coronavirus, the most popular ones are those connecting this virus with Bill Gates, including the claims that he knew in advance about the COVID-19 pandemic, or that he intends to use vaccination to insert microchips in the population. Equally present on social media is the theory that 5G technology is responsible for the spreading of the virus, which science community characterizes as absurdity and nonsense.