Fake Stanford University adviser pushed 'cure' Trump calls 'miracle'

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Gift from God’ coronavirus ‘cure’ touted by Donald Trump is promoted by a FAKE Stanford University ‘researcher’ who is actually a cryptocurrency-hustling Long Island lawyer whose bogus science paper was removed by Google

  • Trump has repeatedly touted anti-malaria drug chloroquine as a ‘cure’ for coronavirus, calling it a ‘miracle from God’ and a ‘game-changer’
  • But the first person to promote it as a potential cure is revealed to have posed as a Stanford University researcher when he was nothing of the kind
  • He is actually a cryptocurrency entrepreneur and member of his family’s legal firm in Melville, Long Island 
  • Rigano, 34, who uses his parents’ address on public records, wrote a bogus scientific paper with another crypto investor, an opthamologist from Michigan
  • It touted chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure but was removed from Google’s public documents for breaching their terms of use
  • The document claimed to be supported by Stanford and University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers but both institutions say that is false   
  • Rigano got his document tweeted by Elon Musk then went on a string of Fox News shows, not correcting Stuart Varney who called him ‘doctor’ three times
  • The ‘cure’ was then touted heavily by Trump at the White House – despite Tony Fauci using the same briefing to say evidence for it is at best anecdotal 
  • Rigano set up a secretive LLC in February and has previously tried to raise funds to ‘cheat death, cure cancer and end Alzheimer’s’
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The unproven claim that an antimalarial drug can cure coronavirus – called a ‘game-changer’ and a ‘gift from God’ by Donald Trump – has been promoted by a crypto-currency lawyer who has made a string of bogus claims, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Gregory Rigano made a series of Fox News and conservative and Christian radio appearances to tout the idea that chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine  ‘cures’ conronavirus.

The anti-malaria drug is now the subject of series of clinical trials, including in New York, where the state received 10,000 doses.

It has been praised by Trump repeatedly – but the first time he did, at the White House last Friday, epidemiologist Tony Fauci stepped in to warn it was not scientifically proven to be effective and safe. 

Trump amplified the case for the drug again on Twitter Monday amid apparent public tensions with Fauci.

Now a DailyMail.com investigation reveals how:

  • Rigano falsely claimed to be an adviser to Stanford University’s School of Medicine;
  • He also falsely claimed to have consulted with the University of Alabama at Birmingham;
  • The Google document which he used to first promote his claims was removed by Google after being formatted to look like a scientific paper when it was not;
  • Other academics and apparent backers of the original claims in the Google document said they had nothing to do with it; 
  • He set up an LLC in mid-February;
  • Rigano previously set up a cryptocurrency firm which he said was ‘designed to cheat death’;
  • He has also tried to source funding to ‘cure aging,’ ‘end Alzheimer’s,’ ‘live forever’ and ‘cure cancer;’
  • Did not correct a television interviewer who repeatedly called him ‘doctor’; 
  • Has enlisted a doctor for ‘trials’ who is a serial entrepreneur whose other plans include a ‘personalized nutrition engine’.

DailyMail.com has made repeated attempts to contact Rigano, a 34-year-old lawyer from Melville, Long Island, who lists being an Eagle Scout on his resume. 

He uses his parents’ home as his address on public documents.

Rigano first touted the use of chloroquine on Monday March 13, publishing a document on Google which was presented to look like a scientific paper, but which is not and which Google has now removed because it is in violation of its terms of service.

It was written by Rigano and by James Todaro, a former ophthalmologist in Dearborn, Michigan, turned cryptocurrency investor. 

Chloroquine advocate: Gregory Rigano claimed he was working ‘in consultation with Stanford University School of Medicine’ as he made a series of Fox News appearances – but he is not

Looks like a scientific paper: This is the Google document which Rigano published but which contains a string of bogus claims, including the involvement of Stanford and the University of Alabama at Birmingham schools of medicine

Big boost: Elon Musk tweeted Rigano’s document to his 32.7 million followers, earning it a huge readership – but Musk did not know the bogus claims in the document

Removed: Rigano’s original Google document which he used to push chloroquine has been taken down by Google. Its terms of service include provisions on false claims 

‘Game-changer,’ ‘miracle,’ and ‘gift from God.’ Donald Trump has touted the use of chloroquine repeatedly in the days after Greg Rigano appeared on a series of Fox New shows to push the drug as a ‘cure’ for coronavirus – with the backing of bogus claims he was a Stanford researcher

It claimed to be ‘in consultation with Stanford University School of Medicine, UAB [University of Alabama at Birmingham] School of Medicine, and National Academy of Science researchers.’

Rigano used a Johns Hopkins email address in the document, although his own LinkedIn profile says he is a student, not a member of faculty there. DailyMail.com has reached out to the college to check his enrollment status.

The text was in the format which a scientific paper would follow, and included drawings of the structure of the chemical structure of chloroquine.

At the bottom of the text it says: ‘Special thanks to Stanford University School of Medicine, SPARK Translational Research Program, Steve Schow, PhD, The Lab of Louise T. Chow, PhD and Thomas R. Broker, PhD, Bruce Bloom DDS, JD of HealX and Adrian Bye.’

However DailyMail.com can disclose that the paper was not a scientific one – and that all of the academics and institutions named in it have asked to be disassociated from it.

They include Stanford University, which said it and its SPARK unit asked to be removed from the document.

Rigano has also described himself as an ‘advisor’ to Stanford School of Medicine.

But Julie Greicius, senior director of external communications at Stanford said: ‘Stanford Medicine, including SPARK, was not involved in the creation of the Google document, and we requested that the author remove all references to us.

‘In addition, Gregory Rigano is not an advisor with Stanford School of Medicine and no one at Stanford was involved in the study.’

When asked if Professor Steve Schow, a Stanford adjunct professor in chemical systems biology, who was thanked in the document, had any involvement, Greicuis said no.

First appearance: Gregory Rigano’s initial publicity of Fox News was on the Laura Ingraham show, hours after Elon Musk tweeted his claims

Bogus: When Greg Rigano appeared on Fox Business Network he presented himself as being part of Stanford University’s School of Medicine – which he is not – and did not correct anchor Stuart Varney who called him ‘doctor’ three times

Bogus again: Rigano appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson and again was presented as being an ‘adviser’ to Stanford, which he is not 


Count us out: Professor Thomas Broker, who was named in the ‘white paper’ before it was removed from Google, asked for his name to be disassociated with it, while the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he works, said a claim that Nobel Prize winner Dr. Louise Chow’s laboratory was involved was also false 

The University of Alabama at Birmingham also said it had no involvement in the Google document.

Prof Broker, who the document named, asked for his name to be removed, while the university’s public relations manager Bob Shepard added that Dr. Chow, a Nobel-prize winner mentioned in the acknowledgments, was no part of the study. 

‘No one at UAB has any connection to this paper,’ Shepard said.

Shepard said that  Broker ‘had previously done research into chloroquine as a possible therapy for human papillomavirus’ which is more commonly known as HPV.

Shepard said: ‘He had some contact with one of the authors of that paper at that time. He had no involvement with the work on coronavirus and is not affiliated with that research in any way.’

THE OTHER PROJECTS RIGANO IS LOOKING FOR CASH TO FUND 

On his cryptocurrency firm’s website, Rigano has also sought funding for:

End Alzheimer’s, Stop neurodegeneration: asking for less than $1m

Repurposed drug combination for Pancreatic Cancer: less than $1m

Cannabis Cancer: less than $1m

New antibacterial compound: less than $1m

Cure Aging: less than $25m

It’s Time to Live Forever: greater than $100m

Gene therapy for x: less than $10m

Cure to Diabetes: greater than $100m

Nootropics + ALS Cognitive Enhancement: less than $100m

Treatment for MS: unknown

Cure for Cancer: unknown 

Google removed the document last Thursday, saying that it was in breach of their terms of use. It did not specify why but publicly available documents are banned from ‘impersonating any person or organization you do not represent.’

But the removal of the document was long after it was tweeted by Elon Musk on Monday March 16. 

Later that day he started a week as a serial guest on Fox News’ opinion shows and on Fox Business Network.

He appeared on Laura Ingraham’s The Ingraham Angle on Monday 16, a few hours after Musk tweeted it was ‘maybe worth considering.’ He was presented as a co-author of the ‘study’ into the drug. 

He claimed that a ’30-patient controlled study’ had cleared patients taking hydroxychloroquine and claimed ‘we have strong reason to believe a preventative dose’ would get rid of the virus completely.

Ingraham called it a ‘game-changer,’ a phrase which was used by Trump later in the week.

On Wednesday 17, the following morning, he appeared on Christian Outlook with Kevin McCulloch. It was turned into a podcast version called ‘The Cure for COVID-19 Has Been Found,’ and saw Rigano boast about being tweeted by Musk.

Rigano said in the interview that it was 12 hours till the release of the first ‘controlled’ study into chloroquine and claimed to have a ‘team’ standing by. He also claimed medical staff were going to take it as a preventative measure as part of a trial.

Then Rigano appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Thursday 18. He was presented as a ‘Stanford University Medical School adviser.’ 

In his interview with Carlson, Rigano praised Trump for cutting ‘red tape at the FDA.’ 

Rigano said: ‘I’m here to report that as of this morning a well-controled peer reviewed study carried out by the most eminent infectious diseases specialist in the world,’ he said, claiming it ‘showed a 100 percent cure rate against coronavirus.’

Carlson said: ‘It’s very unusual for any study of anything to produce results of 100 percent, that’s remarkable or am I missing something?’

In response Rigano compared the effect of chloroquine to a breakthrough which allows Hepatitis C to be ‘cured’ by anit-virals.

‘To be able to cure a virus was said to be mathematically impossible and the first company that did was a small biotech…in the cure to hepatitis C,’ Rigano said.

‘What we’re here to announce is the second cure to a virus of all time.’

The following morning, March 19, he appeared on The Glenn Beck Program, the conservative host’s syndicated show, to again tout his claim of a ‘well-controlled, peer-reviewed clinical study,’ with a ‘100 per cent cure rate.’ 

Asked ‘are you talking to the White House,’ he boasted contradictorily: ‘We have a direct line to them and are waiting for them to reach out.’ 

‘We know that President Trump received our “white paper” within 24 hours after it being published. Dr. Fauci is doing an excellent job and we know they will make the right decision,’ he said.

Profile: Gregory Rigano has used his twitter account to promote his claims about chloroquine

Profile: Gregory Rigano is an attorney – and boasts of being an Eagle Scout on LinkedIn

Family affair: Gregory Rigano (left) is an attorney in his family’s legal firm along with brother Nicholas (right)

Rigano then appeared on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co later in the morning, and was again presented as an ‘adviser’ to Stanford, which he is not.

He told Stuart Varney that Trump ‘has the authority to authorize the use of hydoxychloroquine against coronavirus immediately.’

Grigano claimed that ‘100 per cent of patients were cured within six days,’ prompting Varney to call it a ‘cure.’ 

Varney called him ‘doctor’ three times – which he is not, and Rigano did not correct him. 

And at 11.30am that day, Rigano’s initiative gained its biggest public reward, when Trump used a White House briefing to tout it for the first time, claiming that its use had been ‘approved.’

That was walked back by the FDA administrator at the same briefing, but on Friday it became the subject of a heated back and forth with reporters as Trump was asked about giving ‘false hope.’  

Asked by a reporter about research into the use of the drug, Fauci said: ‘The information you’re referring to is anecdotal, it was not done in a controlled trial so you can’t make a definitive statement about it.’

At this point Trump interjected: ‘I’m probably more of a fan [of chloroquine] than maybe anybody but let’s see what happens.

‘We understand what the doctor said, it’s 100 per cent correct, it’s early but I’ve seen things that are impressive, we’re going to know soon, including safety.

‘This has been prescribed for many years to combat malaria, it’s a strong drug.’

In a Tweet on Saturday he went further and said: ‘HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine…

‘Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents) be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!’

And on Monday Trump tweeted another link to a video of Rigano’s interview with Carlson.

Rigano has referred repeatedly to a study, carried out in Marseille, in the south of France, by Didier Raoult, an infectious disease specialist at l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection.

But the French study touted by Rigano was not in line with his claims.

Raoult used both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, the antibiotic, which Rigano did not mention. 

The anecdotal study said that 95 percent of patients showed no signs of COVID-19 after six days when they took the combination of the drugs, not 100 percent. 

Professor Gilles Pialoux, an infectious disease specialist at Tenon Hospital in France, told Medscape, the medical news site: ‘The idea is interesting but we need large, randomized, controlled trials.’ 

In fact it showed that of the 26 in the trial, 20 completed it, one left hospital before it ended, one was intolerant of the drug and three moved from general care to ICU – and one died. 

The rates of death and movement to ICU are higher than for normal coronavirus patients, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out. 

Dr Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former FDA administrator, told CBS’ Face the Nation that the trial was far too small to be useful and that it traced the presence of the virus in the upper nasal passages, not the clinical outcome.

Rigano’s involvement is surprising as background is working as a lawyer at his family’s firm, Rigano LLC, in Melville on Long Island, New York.

The 34-year-old appears on public records at the same home as his father James, 67, who runs the law firm, and his mother Dorothy, 65.

Researcher: Rigano has referred repeatedly to a study, carried out in Marseille, in the south of France, by Didier Raoult, an infectious disease specialist at l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection.

Skepticism: When Donald Trump talked up chloroquine at a White House press briefing, Tony Fauci warned: ‘The information you’re referring to is anecdotal, it was not done in a controlled trial so you can’t make a definitive statement about it.’

When DailyMail.com called the family home an older woman said: ‘He’s not here at the moment’ and took a message.

In his biography, repeated on a string of websites, Rigano claims to have ‘provided counsel to over $1 billion in transaction volume at global scale’.

On his LinkedIn page he says he is the inventor of IKU, a blockchain platform for financing pharmaceutical research. IKU’s Facebook page says it was set up to ‘cheat death.’

And a separate website for IKU has a list of highly ambitious projects such as ‘End Alzheimer’s, Stop neurodegeneration’ for which he is seeking funding of less than $1m.

Another is called ‘It’s Time to Live Forever’ and is demanding less than $100m – the website says this one is ‘underway’.

On February 11 this year, just as the coronavirus outbreak was becoming a crisis, he set up a company called Jonas Research LLC in Albany, New York.

Rigano has appeared as a speaker at tech conferences where he has been described as a ‘corporate tech lawyer with a deep interest in cryptocurrencies and intellectual property’.

He has offered classes about blockchain technology and hosted meetups about including one which said in its description: ‘Big Pharma has given up on the search to cure Alzheimer’s. But we don’t have to!’

Rigano and Raoult are now looking to do their own clinical trial and have enlisted the help of a Dr Chandra Duggirala.

He is a serial entrepreneur based in California whose previous projects include tryfuel.com which he describes as a ‘personalized nutrition engine’.

In another peculiar twist, among the other people thanked in the Google document was Adrian Bye who runs a networking company in China.

On his website he says that he grew up in Australia and currently lives in a ‘sacred daoist mountain known as Wudang Mountain’ in central China.

On his personal website there is no mention of any medical or scientific qualifications however he did a YouTube interview with fringe Canadian commentator Jean-François Gariépy, whose previous guests include white supremacist David Duke.   

DailyMail.com reached out to Rigano for comment via various email accounts, social media and by phone but did not hear back.

Raoult did not respond to questions via email, nor did Fox News.

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Twitter removing fake coronavirus tweets

Tweets which promote fake treatments for the coronavirus or deny expert guidance will be marked as harmful and removed, the social network site said.

The site, which has millions of active users, said content that could place people at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 would contravene its safety rules.

This could include claims that specific groups are more susceptible to contracting the virus, posting unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic and posting about harmful or non-harmful treatments which are ineffective.

In a post on its website, Twitter said: ‘We will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments, and continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content.’

It follows an announcement from technology companies Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit and YouTube earlier this week in which they committed to work together and with governments in response to the pandemic.

In a joint statement, they said they would work to ensure people could stay connected to each other during isolation as well as fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak.

‘We are working closely together on Covid-19 response efforts,’ the statement said.

‘We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in co-ordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.’

Social media sites and search engines have already been placing official guidance from the NHS and World Health Organisation at the top of search results.

Other platforms have also pledged to work quickly to remove any misinformation linked to the virus which is flagged to or spotted by them .

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Fake tan fan gushes over Garnier tinted moisturiser which gives a natural glow for a fraction of the effort

AS the warmer weather approaches, we all like to do our bit in preparing for the summer season.

But after being rugged up and hidden from the sun in what feels like forever, most of us are probably lacking the bronzed glow we all seek to possess – bring on swimsuit weather.

Luckily for us, one woman has revealed her secret to an everlasting glow – and it doesn't involve exposing your skin to the harsh UV rays, or risking the ultimate fake tan fail.

Instead, the woman claimed that Summer Body Deep Moisturiser by Garnier is the answer to all pale skinned problems and there's "no stained sheets, no streaks, no smell, just a natural tan."

The now bronzed beauty was so impressed with the result of the tanning moisturiser that she had to share her find with others looking to tan up as we creep into warmer days.

Posting in Facebook group 'Extreme Couponing and bargains UK', she explained that she would normally use Aussie self-tan Bondi Sands, and said that she "got tired of the whole routine of exfoliating, applying moisturiser to my elbows, knees, hands and feet. Then to have the mess of my sheets and the smell of fake tan."

 

And after admitting that her "expectations were low" when it came to Garnier's body moisturiser, she claimed that she was "amazed" by the results", and it only "took five minutes to do."

Praising the product, the said: "[It] takes five minutes to do, no stained sheets, no streaks, no smell, just a natural tan! Doesn’t wash off but if you want to up keep the colour apply every 2nd/3rd day."

She then added: "You are in control of how dark depending on how much you apply! I would highly recommend this."

And it appears she wasn't the only one loving the result of the glowing moisturiser, with many impressed tanners gushing about the product themselves.

  • Garnier Summer Body Moisturiser, £6.49 from Superdrug – buy now

One happy tanner said: " Love this stuff, I go with a group of children swimming on a Thursday so I put my first coat on a Tuesday night and the second coat on a Wednesday to add a warm [glow] to my winter white legs for when I go to the pool. "

And another said: "I have used this for years and years. I swear by it. I can get a full natural sun tan look if I want to, or a golden glow, depending on how often I apply. I use the deep tan one. The light one doesn’t show much on me"

A third added: "Brilliant stuff. I love it, been using it for years."

Meanwhile, a fourth person wrote: "Amazing I have been using this for years."

We could go on and on with the raving reviews since the post has racked up over 1,200 of them.

Many posters were already avid users of the wonder product, while many others had been quickly converted after seeing and hearing about the glowing results.

The product information on Garnier's website says that the moisturising lotion "intensely moisturises and gradually builds a natural looking tan in harmony with your skin tone", and is enriched with natural extract of apricot  for added skin–loving benefits.

Looks like this will be our new best friend, because we always want the effortless sun-kissed glow without the effort – all year round, though, not just in summer.

In other beauty news, we told you how shoppers are raving about a "miracle" Amazon shampoo and conditioner that fights hair loss.

We also revealed Kim Kardashian's hair stylist uses £2.50 Primark spray on her mane.

Meanwhile, this mum was called ‘Worzel Gummidge’ by her mates after fake tan blunder.

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