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ICMR Did Not Release Any Guidelines For Use Of Ivermectin In COVID-19 Treatment, UP Government Did

On 6 August, UP government released guidelines on the use of Ivermectin to prevent COVID-19 infection.

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False claim on ICMR issuing guidelines on use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment

A social media user claims that the ICMR released new guidelines for COVID-19 on 6 August, 2020. The claim includes the drug Ivermectin’s treatment course for high-risk patients and frontline health workers as it reduces severity and fatality in 80-90% of cases. 

The claim further provides an Ivermectin treatment course for positive asymptomatic and patients with mild symptoms. Claimed by an account named Dr Pratyush Ranjan, the tweet reads: 

Social media post claiming ICMR guidelines for Ivermectin
Social media post claiming ICMR guidelines for Ivermectin

Other users on Twitter have shared similar claims. 

No Title

As per revised guidelines of covid management by ICMR, even asymptomatic patients should receive treatment. Ivermectin is added into treatment protocol. Hydroxy-chloroquine (HCQ) is out totally#revisedtreatmentprotocolforcovid19

No Title

@PMOIndia (2n) I am sure the ICMR has some guidelines for treatment of COVID 19 with Ivermectin. This is a generic drug. Please make this easily available in India.

Fact Check/ Verification 

India stands only second to the United States in being the worst-affected country worldwide in terms of confirmed cases. As of 8am on 14 September, India has 9,86,598 active cases, and has lost 79,722 lives to COVID-19

At a time when India witnesses a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, a variety of claims with regard to its treatment are being circulated on social media platforms. 

First, we looked for recent circulars on COVID-19 treatments courses on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) website, and found nothing related to treatment by the drug Ivermectin. 

Ivermectin is a drug used to treat parasite infestations like lice, scabies, among others. 

There was confusion about Ivermectin after a recent research article described the drug’s effect in SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting. 

Soon after, the United States Food and Drug Administration clarified  that “while there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”

Guideline Released By UP Government For Ivermectin

However, a relevant keyword search led us to an August 2020 article published by Indian Express, which states that Uttar Pradesh government has approved the use of Ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. 

On 8 August, Times of India reported about UP government’s approval of Ivermectin stating that “health department officials involved with Covid-19 management said that Ivermectin is already being given to frontline health workers.”

Ivermectin to be used for Covid treatment in UP, to replace hydroxychloroquine | Noida News – Times of India

NOIDA/GHAZIABAD: Uttar Pradesh government has approved the use of Ivermectin as a new medication for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19. The drug will replace hydroxychloroquine. Health department officials involved with Covid-19 management said that Ivermectin is already being given to frontline health workers.

Times of India report on UP government’s approval of Ivermectin for COVID-19

On 6 August, Uttar Pradesh government released guidelines on the use of Ivermectin (Tab) to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, it does not mention ICMR with respect to the drug. 

Uttar Pradesh government guidelines on use of Ivermectin to prevent COVID-19
Uttar Pradesh government guidelines on use of Ivermectin to prevent COVID-19

Asian News International, UP tweeted about the same. 

No Title

Uttar Pradesh government recommends tablet ‘Ivermectin’ for prophylaxis in contacts and in health care workers and for treatment of asymptomatic to mild symptomatic #COVID19 patients. pic.twitter.com/XEp75AIRrc

Conclusion 

The claim in context which states that ICMR issued guidelines to treat high-risk patients and frontline health workers with Ivermectin is false. It was in fact the Uttar Pradesh government that released guidelines on the use of Ivermectin (Tab) to prevent COVID-19 infection on 6 August. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Indian Council of Medical Research: https://main.icmr.nic.in/

Indian Express 

Times of India 

Government of Uttar Pradesh: http://dgmhup.gov.in/DocumentsCovid19/1621.pdf

Asian News International, UP


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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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Fact check

Cipla Did Not Issue A Statement On Remdesivir’s Direct Supply To Hospitals

Cipla set up an additional helpline to share information on availability of critical Cipla products for COVID-19 in July, 2020.

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Cipla's additional helpline for information on critical COVID-19 products

Cipla will supply the drug Remdesivir directly to a patient’s hospital, shows an image widely circulated on social media platforms. The accompanying image includes details of Cipla helpline for COVID-19 as well as other details on the drug. 

We received the image in context on our Whatsapp helpline number asking us to verify this claim. 

Claim on Cipla supplying Remdesivir directly to hospitals.
Claim on Cipla supplying Remdesivir directly to hospitals.

This claim with the accompanying image has been circulating on social media platforms since July this year.

Fact Check/ Verification 

On 15 July, Cipla, the global pharmaceutical company “set up an additional #helpline to share information on availability of critical Cipla products, for the #COVID19 pandemic period only.” 

The image in the claim is almost identical to the one shared by the company about their additional helpline. Except it does not include details on the drug. 

This claim began to circulate on social media platforms at a time when the company launched “its generic version of broad-spectrum anti-viral drug remdesivir (branded Cipremi), to be used on critically ill Covid patients in the hospitals,” reported Financial Express. 

Costing Rs. 4000, you can read more about Cipla’s remdesivir Cipremi launched in India here

We reached out to Cipla who clarified that they didn’t issue any such statement as written in the image. “The second part of the message (after the poster) is not a statement by Cipla,” they said. 

The obvious grammatical errors in the image also led to suspicion on its authenticity. This includes the spelling of the drug Remdesivir, which was incorrectly written as “Rendemsivir”. Other errors include doctor’s advice written as “Dr. s Advise”, and written as “N” and no full stops at the end of a sentence. 

Conclusion 

The claim with the accompanying image which states that Cipla will supply the drug Remdesivir directly to a patient’s hospital is false. The pharmaceutical company did not issue any such statement. A poster of Cipla’s helpline to share information on its critical products has been modified to fit the claim. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Direct confirmation from Cipla

Cipla’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cipla_Global/status/1283381524704849920?s=20

Cipla’s website: https://www.cipla.com/covid-care

Financial Express: https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/cipla-launches-remdesivir-claims-it-is-inexpensive/2018015/

LiveMint: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/coronavirus-vaccine-cipla-launches-generic-version-of-remdesivir-in-india-11594223346722.html



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Fact check

Kerala Police Officer Pins Down Youth Congress Worker, Not BJP Member

The man pinned to the ground was identified as Anthony, a Youth Congress worker, reported The News Minute.

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Kerala police officer pins Youth Congress worker down

A social media user tweeted an image of a Kerala police officer pinning a man to the ground. The user claims that the man is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala. The tweet reads:

“This is how Kerala Police deal with @BJP4Keralam and @YUVAMORCHABJP at Thiruvananthapuram on #KTJaleelResign protest!”

Fact Check/ Verification

The photograph in context of a police officer pinning a man to the ground in Kerala has created quite a stir on social media platforms. Some users have equated the photograph to police brutality faced by the late George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. 

When some of our intellectuals and media said Kerala has achieved conditions of living comparable to those of most…

Posted by Karthikeyan Ramakrishnan on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Through a reverse image search of the photograph we came across a News Minute article from 15 September titled, “Kerala cop pins Congress worker to ground during protest, pic sparks outrage.” 

The News Minute story on Kerala police officer pinning Youth Congress worker down
The News Minute story on Kerala police officer pinning Youth Congress worker down

The man pinned to the ground was identified as Anthony, a Youth Congress worker, “in order to allow Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel’s convoy to pass through,” according to the article.

It further quotes State Congress vice-president and former legislator PC Vishnunadh who called the police act shameful. “Just see the cruelty that was shown to one of our young activist Antony, who turned into a victim of police high-handedness, as literally a replay of what happened in the US was played out,” he said. 

Kerala Protests Turned Violent

Last week, Kerala witnessed widespread protests by various political parties demanding the state’s higher education minister KT Jaleel’s resignation. This was after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to a gold smuggling case. 

These protests which turned violent in many areas with police using water cannons included members of the Congress party, BJP, ABVP, Mahila Morcha and the Muslim league.

You can read more about the anti-government protests in Kerala here.

Member of AICC, Indian National Congress, VT Balram also posted the photograph in context on 14 September with the caption, “Citizen and Pinarayi government.”

പൗരനും പിണറായി സർക്കാരും

Posted by VT Balram on Monday, September 14, 2020

Chief photojournalist of Malayala Manorama Daily, Josekutty Panackal, shared a video published by Manorama News reporting about the photograph. 

അങ്കമാലി അമ്മാവൻ പ്രധാനമന്ത്രി… 🏃🏃‍♀️🏃🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Posted by Josekutty Panackal on Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Manorama Online also reported on the incident on 14 September. 

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that the police officer in the photograph is pinning a Youth Congress worker to the ground, and not a member of Bharatiya Janata Party. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

The News Minute: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-cop-pins-congress-worker-ground-during-protest-pic-sparks-outrage-133126

New Indian Express: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/sep/12/kerala-gold-smuggling-case-protests-erupt-in-state-demanding-minister-jaleels-resignation-2195950.html

The Hindu: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/gold-smuggling-case-anti-govt-protests-roil-kerala-for-sixth-day/article32628592.ece

Member of AICC, Indian National Congress, VT Balram: https://www.facebook.com/vtbalram/posts/10157974220694139

Chief photojournalist of Malayala Manorama Daily, Josekutty Panackal: https://www.facebook.com/josekuttyp/posts/3479483808768662

Manorama Online: https://www.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/2020/09/14/protest-against-kerala-government.html

Prathmesh Kunt contributed towards research of this fact check.


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