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VERIFY: No, this Texas doctor has not discovered a cure for COVID-19 using 'inhaled steroids'

Texas physician Dr. Richard Bartlett claims he has a "silver bullet" in the fight against coronavirus.

HOUSTON — Has a Texas doctor discovered a cure for COVID-19? It’s a question many people have asked the VERIFY team after watching a video that has gone viral on social media.

The 30-minute YouTube interview features Texas physician Dr. Richard Bartlett, who claims to have found a cure for COVID-19.

“The silver bullet is inhaled steroids,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett claims he has been successfully treating his COVID-19 patients with the steroid Budesonide.

“You use a nebulizer machine. It’s an asthma medicine. It’s a respiratory anti-inflammatory for COVID, which is a respiratory inflammatory disease and it works. 100% of my patients are alive,” Bartlett said.

He claims Japan, Singapore and Iceland have lower death rates because they are using inhaled steroids as forms of treatment.

“Guess how many people have died to date, during the whole pandemic, in Taiwan? Seven,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said he has shared his findings with Sen. Bob Hall and Sen. Ted Cruz.

“We have sent that unpublished paper to Senator Cruz’s office already. So, he is responsible for the information he has now, and now everybody knows he has it,” Bartlett said.

We have four sources for this, Dr. Bindu Akkanti, associate professor of critical care medicine at McGovern Medical School at UT Health and attending physician at Memorial Hermann, the CDC, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s office and Texas Senator Bob Hall’s office.

Bartlett said he has been treating patients with COVID-19 since March. He claims inhaled steroids are a cure.

First, let’s address Bartlett’s claim that inhaled steroids are the cure for COVID-19.

“I wish it was as simple as that. If it was truly a silver bullet, and if it was truly a simple right, we would be using medications,” Akkanti said.

The CDC said there is no known cure for COVID-19. So, we can VERIFY that claim is false.

As for the countries Bartlett mentions have low death rates, we checked with the CDC and can VERIFY that information is true, however, Akkanti said there is no scientific evidence that inhaled steroid treatments are the reason.

“There are very small studies from each individual country that are coming through. But I think when we look at it on a large scale, there is no current signal that inhaled article steroids are preventing it or curing it,” Akkanti said.

As for the claim that Bartlett has discussed his “silver bullet cure” with federal and state lawmakers, Cruz’s office told the VERIFY team, “Dr. Bartlett spoke with staff to share his experiences and research.”

We can also Verify that Hall has received the document and has published it on his social media pages.

We had an interview scheduled with Barlett on Monday afternoon, but his spokesperson sent us a text message on Sunday saying he would have to reschedule because of his “busy COVID schedule.”

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