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Andhra CM YS Jagan Reddy Claims Paracetamol Can Cure Coronavirus. Is it True?

Recently, a right-wing politician in India suggested that cow urine and dung can cure coronavirus, the claim is not just unscientific but fatal as uninformed masses are highly likely to follow his suggestion because of their stern religious beliefs. The next Indian politician to make it to the list is Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Reddy who has claimed that Paracetamol tablet is the only medication for coronavirus.

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Claim

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Reddy has claimed that ‘Paracetamol’ is the only medication for coronavirus.

YS Jagan: Paracetamol only medication for coronavirus | Amaravati News – Times of India

YS Jaganmohan Reddy AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy said that paracetamol is the only medication for coronavirus. Coronavirus outbreak live updates He said that Covid-19 is lethal for those have comorbid conditions including blood pressure, asthma and kidney diseases. “There is no need to get panic about coronavirus.

Verification

As more coronavirus cases are being reported across the globe, the graph of a surge in misinformation is only moving upwards. State health officials, governments, global health, and fact-checking agencies are burning the midnight oil to curb the misinformation as it is the need of the hour but those subject to questioning are the politicians, who are largely responsible for making policies and their implementation. Recently, a right-wing politician in India suggested that cow urine and dung can cure coronavirus, the claim is not just unscientific but fatal as uninformed masses are highly likely to follow his suggestion because of their stern religious beliefs. The next Indian politician to make it to the list is Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Reddy who has claimed that Paracetamol tablet is the only medication for coronavirus. Now, one may arguably discuss the merits and demerits of the said tablet but is it advisable to make such claims when the pandemic has created a panic that is being termed as big a challenge as World War 2

Seeing the sensitivity of the claim and the position and reach of the person who made the aforementioned claim, we began our fact-check. In the first phase, we initially tried to know what are the medicinal benefits and demerits of the Paracetamol tablet. We searched the World Health Organization’s website and learned that as per the listed definition of Paracetamol by WHO, “Paracetamol is a synthetic derivative of p-aminophenol with analgesic and antipyretic activity but no anti-inflammatory action. Its plasma half-life is about 2 hours. It is extensively metabolized in the liver and subsequently excreted in the urine.”

WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Anaesthesia: Non-opioid analgesics: Paracetamol

Paracetamol is a synthetic derivative of p-aminophenol with analgesic and antipyretic activity but no anti-inflammatory action. Its plasma half-life is about 2 hours. It is extensively metabolized in the liver and subsequently excreted in the urine. Clinical information Uses Symptomatic relief of mild to moderate pain.

WHO has published more informative articles on Paracetamol which can be viewed here

Now, we began to check if Paracetamol can cure coronavirus. During our search, we found a report published by Express.co which lists the benefits and demerits of the Paracetamol and if Paracetamol can cure coronavirus.

Coronavirus and paracetamol: Can you take paracetamol for coronavirus?

For those managing their symptoms at home, the NHS advises to “drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol to help with your symptoms.” Paracetamol is used to relieve pain and reduce fever, so can help alleviate some symptoms. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested on Tuesday people should not take ibuprofen.

An excerpt from the aforementioned report reads, “For those managing their symptoms at home, the NHS advises to “drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol to help with your symptoms.” Paracetamol is used to relieve pain and reduce fever, so can help alleviate some symptoms. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested on Tuesday people should not take ibuprofen. French health minister Olivier Veran has suggested anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen the infection. Sir Patrick told MPs: “The ibuprofen example – it may or may not be right, I don’t know, but the sensible thing to do would be to say don’t take it at the moment, take something else – paracetamol or something.” As yet there is no cure for coronavirus, only managing the symptoms which arise.”

From the aforementioned report, we learned that while the NHS advocates taking Paracetamol to help with symptoms but the organization has nowhere termed it the only medication to cure coronavirus.

As we searched further, we found a report published by The Guardian that throws more light on the issue and quotes NSW chief health officer to clarify that Paracetamol can not cure coronavirus rather it just helps with the symptoms. 

Paracetamol cannot treat coronavirus, NSW chief health officer says, only its symptoms – video

New South Wales chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant addresses a misconception around paracetamol and the coronavirus crisis. With pharmacies and stores running low on supplies of the painkiller due to hoarding, Chant explained paracetamol only treats symptoms of Covid-19, not the virus itself

As per The Guardian report, “New South Wales chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant addresses a misconception around paracetamol and the coronavirus crisis. With pharmacies and stores running low on supplies of the painkiller due to hoarding, Chant explained paracetamol only treats symptoms of Covid-19, not the virus itself.”

We also found a video report by The Independent that clarifies the issue in detail by comparing the usage of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol and then negates the claim swiftly that the latter is the only medication that can cure coronavirus.

Should you be taking paracetamol rather than ibuprofen to treat coronavirus?

The UK government is no longer testing individuals for coronavirus and says if you show symptoms (a high temperature and a new and continuous cough) you should stay at home for 7 days and not call 111 or attend a GP or hospital.

 After reading the three aforementioned reports, we reached the conclusion that Paracetamol can help with coronavirus symptoms but it can not entirely cure coronavirus and also, it is not the only medication to do so.

We also contacted Dr. Chandani Pandey, MD, a physician who specializes in Otolaryngology. Dr. Pandey was also of the same view as stated in the reports above. Talking to newschecker.in, she said, “It is true that Paracetamol is advised if someone is having the symptoms of coronavirus or lookalike symptoms as it can help with moderate or mild pain, headache, fever and some other known symptoms of coronavirus. However, it is not a prescribed treatment for coronavirus and to say the least, it is not at all the only medication to help with the symptoms of coronavirus. There are several other medications, however, a vaccine or an approved treatment for the Covid-19 pneumonia is yet to be announced. It is advised to people that they should not panic about the outbreak and follow the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and other global health organizations.”

We also found a report published by The Star that claims to have contacted a WHO official and quotes the same official to clarify that the World Health Organization okays the use of ibuprofen and is of the view that there’s no evidence to warn against using ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

World Health Organization says there’s no evidence to warn against using ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms

Despite a warning from French Health Minister Olivier Veran that ibuprofen could worsen COVID-19 symptoms, there is currently no strong evidence to advise against taking the medication to treat the illness, according to the World Health Organization. While the WHO initially advised against taking ibuprofen, the organization now says people suffering symptoms could medicate as usual.

Additionally, when we checked the World Health Organization’s Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19), we found that the WHO has found no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. An excerpt from the WHO’s Q&A is as follows, “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available.” 

It is evident from our findings and Dr. Pandey’s testimony that Paracetamol can help with the coronavirus symptoms but it cannot entirely cure coronavirus. We also found that Paracetamol is not the only medication that can help with coronavirus symptoms as there are many medications.

Sources

Expert Opinion

Google Search

Result: Partially False/Misleading

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Coronavirus

Claim On Pune’s Steam Bar Treating or Preventing COVID-19 Is False

Steam inhalation as a treatment or preventive measure of COVID-19 is not listed by the World Health Organisation.

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False claim on Pune's steam bar treating or preventing COVID-19

A social media user claims that a steam bar with inhalers treats or prevents COVID-19 in Pune. The claim is accompanied by a video which shows people seated in front of pipes used as steam inhalers. 

“Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune” the tweet reads. 

Other social media users have shared this claim as well. 

Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune: #corona #Covid19 #fightwithcorona

Posted by LIVE Ahmedabad on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

लो कल्लो बात 😎Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune:

Posted by Sanjieva Shankhdhar on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fact Check/ Verification

Different states in India continue to witness a rise in COVID-19 cases. Maharashtra, the epicentre of coronavirus in India has 2,75,404 active cases as of 8am on 25 September. It’s followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh which have 95,568, 69,353 and 61,300 active cases respectively. 

At a time like this, the claim on Pune’s steam bar with inhalers has been shared by many social media users in the past few days. 

Steam inhalation can thin mucus and help it drain from the nose when experiencing  nasal congestion. “Controlled studies show that these remedies do not kill viruses in the respiratory tract. Besides, there are no studies testing the effect of these remedies on preventing infection by the novel coronavirus,” state the voluntary group of scientists, Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19, in their Hoaxbusters section. 

The Hoaxbusters section on the Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 website debunks steam inhalation as COVID-19 treatment.
The Hoaxbusters section on the Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 website debunks steam inhalation as COVID-19 treatment

On the other hand, a 2015 study published by the Spanish Pediatrics Association takes note of the burns or scalds that can be caused due to hot water or steam. “Steam inhalation therapy (SIT), which has been used traditionally and is still employed today to treat mild respiratory tract infections despite the lack of evidence to support its effectiveness, can also cause burns indirectly through scalding.”

Also steam inhalation as a treatment or preventive measure of COVID-19 is not listed by the World Health Organisation

“While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease,” notes the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. 

On 23 September, Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Dr FaheemYounus, responded to the initial claim saying, “ Let’s not turn fear into business. This is completely useless.”

Note: We were unable to locate the exact steam bar from the claim. 

In the last six months, we’ve also debunked many other claims related to cure and prevention of coronavirus. You can read related fact checks here

Conclusion 

The recent claim which states that a steam bar with inhalers treats or prevents COVID-19 in Pune is false. Currently, there is no known medicine or treatment that can cure COVID-19. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19: https://indscicov.in/for-public/busting-hoaxes/

A study by Spanish Pediatrics Association: https://www.analesdepediatria.org/en-severe-burns-related-steam-inhalation-articulo-S2341287914001343

World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public\

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/

Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Dr FaheemYounus: https://twitter.com/FaheemYounus/status/1308820077324701696?s=20

WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/how-do-i-use-steam-for-congestion


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False Claim About People in China Not Taking Any Medicine Or Vaccine For Coronavirus Goes Viral

Contrary to the claim which says that people in China have stopped going to the hospital for cure, news report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency says otherwise.

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People in China are not killing coronavirus with heat or recovering in five days.

Claim 

A social media post claims that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus. They’re instead killing the virus with heat and recovering in five days. 

We received the above image on our Whatsapp verification number. The claim which is an image of a social media post allegedly posted by Tahir Mahmood Chaudry starts with a disclaimer that the message is a translation from an Indian living in Wuhan. 

Using keywords we found multiple social media posts with the same claim being circulated since April, 2020. See of few examples below:

Fact Check

The claim in context was allegedly posted by Tahir Mahmood Chaudry, Executive director at Ovex Technologies. Chaudry’s social media profiles confirm his designation, but whether he posted this claim or not remains unknown. We’ve reached out to him for verification and will update the copy if we receive a response. 

Moving on to the first part of the claim which says, 

“Chinese are not taking any medicine or any vaccine for Corona virus. Every household has a Corona virus case. They have stopped going to hospital for cure. They instead kill the virus with heat.” 

We found no credible news report or information from any official source which supports the claim that every household in China has a COVID-19 case and that they aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for it. 

Contrary to the claim which says that people in China have stopped going to the hospital for cure,  a 30 June news report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency states, “By Monday, the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 1,918 imported cases. Of the cases, 1,830 had been discharged after recovery, and 88 remained hospitalized. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.” 

The second part of the claim states, 

“Very Hot Steam Inhalation from kettle 4 times a day

Hot Gargles 4 times a day

Hot tea 4 times a day

Virus dies in 4 days.

5th Day you are Corona Negative.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that our normal body temperature remains around 36.5 degree Celsius to 37 degree Celsius irrespective of temperature of the bath or shower. In fact baths from extremely hot water can burn us. 

The WHO also also clarified that while some traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate mild COVID-19 symptoms, there is no known vaccine or medicine to prevent or cure the disease so far. 

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in its immunity boosting guidelines recommends general measures such as drinking warm water, herbal tea, and steam inhalation among other things. But it also clearly states that this advisory is in no way a treatment for COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in its COVID-19 guidelines also states that there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. 

You can read our other fact checks related to the novel coronavirus here.

Conclusion 

The social media post claiming that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus and other included details are false. 

Tools Used

  • Google advanced search 
  • Twitter advanced search

Result: False 

If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

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No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

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No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Several social users posted a picture of a woman thrusting a syringe in man’s vein and claimed that the man in the picture is Bharat Biotech’s Vice President, Dr. VK Srinivas, and the first dose of the vaccine was administered on him.

According to a report in Live Mint, Bharat Biotech, an unlisted Indian vaccine maker, has received regulatory approval to start human clinical trials for its experimental shot. The phase 1 trial of Covaxine will begin next week. The company has planned to enroll 375 people in the first phase of clinical trials.

We found that the same image is viral on Twitter and Facebook with a caption, “Dr. V. K.Srinivas, Vice President, Bharat biotech, taking Corona vaccine clinical trial immediately after taking the first dose. He is the first person in India to take vaccine developed by him and his team in Bharat Biotech. Look at the confidence.”

Fact Check

As we began fact-checking the claim, we looked for some media reports backing the claim, but we did not find any authentic information to corroborate.

However, during our research, we came across the statement tweeted by Bharat Biotech. In a statement posted on their Twitter handle, Bharat Biotech said that individual images and messages circulated on social media platforms had not disseminated by Bharat biotech. The image is a routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff.

We now searched, if Dr.VK Srinivas is the Vice President of the Bharat biotech. During our research, we did not find any results for his name. We found that Dr. V Krishna Mohan is the Executive Director, and T Srinivas is the Chief Financial Officer of the management team of the pharmaceutical.

Conclusion

It is evident from our fact check that social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

Tools Used

  • Google Search
  • Media Reports
  • Twitter Search

Result: False


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form

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