As per a report published by CNN, “The US has got the vaccine for Novel Coronavirus…
They are in testing mode on humans and in the next 3 weeks, everything will be fine…28,000 patients got cured of coronavirus…”
We were tagged to fact check a viral message which attributes to CNN and claims that the vaccine for Novel coronavirus has been invented in the US and it is currently being tested on humans. The message also claims that within 3 weeks, the vaccine will bring normalcy from the epidemic. As per the claim, 28,000 people have been cured of the novel coronavirus. Misinformation, Fake News and Disinformation related to Novel Coronavirus are seeing a huge surge, fact-checkers across the globe have been trying their best to curb the counterfeiting of facts related to coronavirus ever since the virus emerged in the first place. Fact-checkers across the world in multiple languages have allied under the International Fact-Checking Network to debunk the hoaxes related to the virus and to surface the truth. Detailed information on misinformation, disinformation and fake news busted by IFCN signatories can be viewed here.
As we began to fact check this claim, we first searched Google for more information on this claim. We used the same keywords that of the claim and we found a report published by CNN. The headline of the report reads, “The US has started human testing of a drug to treat the novel coronavirus”
News of the drug testing came just as a federal health official warned that the virus will eventually start spreading in US communities.
After reading the CNN report, we found that the US has indeed invented a vaccine and has started the human testing of the vaccine which is being claimed as a treatment of the novel coronavirus. The CNN reports also informs that the first subject of the human testing of the drug invented by the US is an American who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.
We found that the first part of the viral message is true. Now we tried to find the reality of the other claims in the viral message. The other claim reads, “Within 3 weeks, everything will be fine.” As per the CNN report, there is no such deadline as to when the vaccine will start working. The CNN report states “Participants in the US treatment group will receive 200 milligrams of remdesivir intravenously when they’re enrolled in the study. They will receive another 100 milligrams while they are hospitalized for up to 10 days total. A placebo group will receive a solution that resembles remdesivir but contains only inactive ingredients, the NIH said.”
We also searched other media reports and the official Twitter handles of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for more information on the viral message.
First, we checked the official Twitter handle of HHS but apart from the awareness around the novel coronavirus, we didn’t get much information. We then checked the Twitter handle of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and we found a tweet in which the CDC has provided updated guidance on evaluating and testing persons under investigation for novel coronavirus.
The latest CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Update provides updated guidance on evaluating and testing persons under investigation (#PUIs) for #COVID19. See https://t.co/PvgSSbNt98 pic.twitter.com/Rk2HAl79zF
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 29, 2020
In the aforementioned tweet, the CDC has given the link of a report which is being updated by the CDC as soon as there is a major update.
Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network February 28, 2020, 15:05 ET (3:05 PM ET) CDCHAN-00428 Summary The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
We then searched media reports for more information on the issue. A few items from our findings are listed below.
Human trials testing a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus are expected to begin in six weeks, U.S. health officials announced Tuesday. “We are on time at least and maybe even a little bit better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters at a press conference.
The C.D.C. announced that it would allow hundreds of labs to test for the virus, while the Trump administration said it was distributing tens of thousands of testing kits. After weeks of stalled testing for the coronavirus, the United States now has enough diagnostic kits to test 75,000 people, with more on the way, Alex M.
By If a vaccine for coronavirus is developed there is no guarantee that every American will be able to afford it, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers earlier this week. However, other health experts say that won’t be the case if the government pays for the development of a vaccine.
Now we began fact-checking the third and the last part of the message which claims that 28,000 patients got cured of coronavirus because of the vaccine that is being tested. The viral message attributes its content to the CNN reports, we searched multiple reports published by CNN but we didn’t find any such report. We found a report published by CNN on February 6, 2020, which informs that the total number of infected people from coronavirus has increased to 28,000.
Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has An evacuee from Wuhan, China who arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California was transported to a local hospital after developing a fever or a cough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement Thursday.
We also found a similar report published by the New York Times on the same date as of the CNN report.
Patients in a clinical trial will receive a placebo or remdesivir, which has shown promise in laboratory studies. China is forging ahead in the search for treatments for people sickened by the new coronavirus that has infected more than 28,000 people in a countrywide epidemic, killed more than 500 and seeded smaller outbreaks in 24 other nations.
Since we know from the sources mentioned above that the vaccine/drug is being tested currently and hence it has not been shared with any other country, we searched for the total number of coronavirus cases in the US. We found a report published by the New York Times on March 2, 2020, which updates the number of cases as 88.
March 2, 2020, 12:41 a.m. ET Cases in the United States skyrocketed by 35 percent over the weekend. States from coast to coast reported new cases, including the first two deaths at the same hospital in Washington State. Right Now Stocks rose in Asia on Monday as investors bet that the world’s governments and central banks would step in to help.
As per the New York Times report, the total number of coronavirus cases in the US jumped 35 percent, to 88 on March 2, 2020.
We also searched for the number of total patients who are cured of coronavirus but we didn’t find a collated report on how many patients have been cured of the virus. There are some individual reports though, for instance, Economic Times on February 28, 2020 reports that 36,117 patients have been discharged in China.
Experts say there are several ways discharged patients could fall ill with the virus again. Convalescing patients might not build up enough antibodies to develop immunity to SARS-CoV-2, and are being infected again. The virus also could be “biphasic”, meaning it lies dormant before creating new symptoms.
Hence it is evident from our article that the viral message is misleading as concerned authorities have not given any specific deadline of three weeks for the vaccine(drug) which is being tested currently. We also found that the claim of 28,000 people being cured of the coronavirus because of the vaccine invented by the US is ‘False’ as there are only 88 coronavirus cases in the US and the vaccine has not yet been shared with any other country.
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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.
Other social media users have shared this claim as well.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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.
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:
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.
The social media post claiming that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus and other included details are false.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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