No, social media, there's isn't a cure for COVID-19, yet - InfoNews

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No, social media, there's isn't a cure for COVID-19, yet

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March 20, 2020 - 6:00 PM

You've probably seen it online by now, but no, neither hot yoga nor Norwegian spruce extract are cures for COVID-19 and there's no treatment yet.

During their daily briefing on the pandemic yesterday, March 19, both Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry took shots at some of the myths being circulated online.

One reporter asked Henry about the effects of heat on the virus, noting a Bikram yoga studio in Delta was claiming the virus cannot tolerate heat.

“Yoga studios are places where people are sweating and are next to each other,” Henry said. “That is a perfect environment to spread this virus if somebody is shedding this virus.”

A story in the Vancouver Province newspaper said, today, that Delta has revoked the business license of Bikram Yoga for making false claims that the COVID-19 virus cannot survived above 40 C.

Henry said that some people are misunderstanding the science around COVID-19.

“It’s probably a misinterpretation of the fact that respiratory viruses, like influenzas and some of the other coronaviruses that we’ve seen, tend to fade away when it gets warmer and we have increased amounts of ultraviolet light during the spring and summertime,” Henry said. “It just disappears around this time of year.”

Tests in clinical settings using ultraviolet rays to destroy influenza virus show that's not a practical solution since very high concentrations of UV radiation are needed for a very long time. Experiments to destroy influenza with high humidity have also failed.

Dix then took the microphone to go on the offensive against false claims.

“Just to be clear, there’s no cure for COVID-19,” he said. “Dr. Henry said it many times. And there’s no vaccine. If anybody’s making such claims, I would say: if you encounter them online, block them and unfollow them. If they’re in your community making claims like that, if they are registered as health care professionals, report them because those claims are false.”

An Internet search for “COVID-19 cures” resulted in page after page of links to reputable health care services and media outlets, not false claims.

That may be due, in part, to some of those claims being removed.

“Online listings of products making false or misleading health claims, such as being able to prevent and cure COVID-19, have been taken down by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) as part of an Internet-based enforcement exercise coordinated by Interpol,” according to Channel News Asia.

Those sites included claims of being able to strengthen the immune system, prevent and cure coronavirus. Among the products listed were Ayurveda herbs and Norwegian Spruce Extract, the article states.

Another article, from Healthline, said that the Federal Drug Administration in the United States sent letters to seven companies in early March, ordering them to stop selling “fraudulent COVID-19 products.”

Those included “teas, essential oils, tinctures, and colloidal silver.”

A similar search on Facebook did find references to a Ghanaian professor producing some kind of “organic supplement” but there are more postings encouraging people to pray for a cure.

That’s not to say that efforts aren’t underway to find a vaccine and cure.

Henry referenced a drug called Chloroquine, which is used for malaria and an anti-HIV medication that is being researched as treatments, not as cures.

“We’re hopeful for those, which is why we’re doing what we’re doing right now,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can to try to stop the transmission of this virus now so that we can buy ourselves time for either a vaccine or an effective treatment in the coming months.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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