The US magazine Forbes this week flagged up the French antiseptic Betadine as the latest product to be promoted as a Covid cure in fake news stories shared online by anti-vaxxers.
Avrio Health, which markets Betadine, has previously made efforts to remind customers that the antiseptic, which can be toxic if ingested, is not designed for this purpose and does not have any curative properties against Covid.
The group wrote on its website: "Our products should only be used against infections caused by small cuts, scratches or burns. Our products have not shown efficacy for the treatment or prevention against Covid-19 or other viruses.”
But Betadine is far from the only thing to have been promoted in fake news worldwide, and in France, as either ‘preventing’ or ‘curing’ Covid.
Others include cocaine, urine, and fennel tea.
When stories began circulating online that cocaine could help fight Covid, the French government took the step of officially denying any link and reminding citizens of its harmful and addictive properties.
#Coronavirus | Désinfox— Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé (@Sante_Gouv) March 8, 2020
❌ Non, La cocaïne NE protège PAS contre le #COVID19 .
✅ C'est une drogue addictive provoquant de graves effets indésirables et nocifs pour la santé des personnes.
The World Health Organisation now has a dedicated page on its website for busting myths promoted in fake news stories.
Among them: fake claims that drinking wine, drinking urine, adding chilli to your food, spraying your body with bleach, or taking a hot bath can protect you from Covid.
However, five real medicines are currently being studied and tested, and could be ready by the end of the year.
Molnupiravir: Designed as a pill to be taken twice a day for five days, as soon as a patient tests positive. Aims to reduce the viral load by stopping the virus from reproducing in the body after it has infected human cells
Tocilizumab: An anti-inflammatory drug, administered intravenously. Works by blocking the receptor for a protein that can lead to hyperinflammation, behind the most severe cases of Covid. Currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis under other names.
Ronapreve: Combines two antibodies selected for their ability to target the ‘spike’ protein that allows the virus to enter the body and multiply. Intended for immunocompromised patients who cannot be adequately protected by vaccination.
AZD7442: A preventive treatment. An antiviral that greatly reduces the risk of vulnerable patients developing a symptomatic form of Covid. The laboratory suggests it could protect patients for three times longer, up to a year after injection.
XAV-19 from Xenothera, based in Nantes. Aims to neutralise the virus and boost a patient's immunity. Primarily intended to prevent patients with moderate Covid-19 being admitted to intensive care.