What You Need To Know About The MyPillow Guy's Supposed COVID-19 Cure

By his own admission, Mike Lindell is a former cocaine addict who has made a fortune out of making and selling pillows that hold their shape. He founded his company, MyPillow, in 2004, which he said came to him in a dream from God (via CNBC). Now he's on pushing an untested, unproven cure for COVID-19 which scientists are warning is potentially dangerous.

Lindell claims the drug, called oleandrin and which is manufactured by a company he owns a share of, is effective against the coronavirus that still has neither cure nor vaccine after it first surfaced and swept through the globe back in January. Lindell says he's given it to friends and family, and that "it saved their lives." When CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Lindell why he wants to sell an unproven, therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 (that could financially benefit him), Lindell told him, "I do what Jesus has me do. Why would I do this? Ask yourself why would I ruin my reputation if I didn't believe in this product?" Other than staking the effectivity of oleandrin on his reputation, Lindell has not been able to provide any scientific proof that the drug works, even though he insists that the FDA has been looking at research since April (via The Hill). 

Scientists have a reason to be concerned about oleandrin

Scientists say they have a legitimate reason to be worried about Lindell's claims. Oleandrin comes from nerium oleander, a picture-pretty plant which is commonly used in landscaping, but but is also responsible for many accidental poisoning cases around the world. There is no part of that plant that can be consumed — if any part of it is eaten, the plant and its extract can cause irregular heartbeat, and it can also be deadly to both humans and animals (via PBS). This is not to say that there is interest in using oleandrin to cure COVID-19, after all, it is being studied as a possible treatment for a certain type of leukemia. But Robert Harrold of Southern Methodist University says the idea is no more than "an intriguing idea" for now (via The New York Times).

Our desire to get back to life as we knew it could make us believe that the next cure, or the next vaccine, is around the corner, but as of now it's not in the form of oleandrin as Lindell, who Anderson Cooper has labelled a snake oil salesman, says it is. And while a number of vaccines have appeared on the horizon, getting them ready for us to use safely will take time. After all, the mumps vaccine was developed in the shortest amount of time, and that took four years (via Discoveries). Magic bullets aren't likely to come from toxic plant substances, and until scientists say otherwise, it is unlikely that they will.