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Coronavirus: Medical Myths

White Plains Hospital

May 13, 2020

Coronavirus: Medical Myths

Debunking ludicrous and lethal coronavirus cures.

As the country ponders when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, the search continues for a cure for coronavirus. Antibody testing may help provide a solution, but it’s still in the early stages and questions remain regarding its usefulness. What is certain is that antibody testing will help us understand the spread of this disease and provide essential data to help guide us to a recovery. If you would like to be tested, please contact your physician.

Facts vs. Fiction – a Q & A

In the days of the Old West, travelling salesmen with dubious degrees hawked snake oil, often a homemade fake elixir buoyed by verbal hype but little science. Since the coronavirus outbreak, modern day hucksters have been selling their own brand of snake oil. False claims have left consumers with a lot of questions, including:

Q: Are there any drugs available that cure coronavirus?

A: Not yet, but the National Institutes of Health announced in April that preliminary results of the antiviral drug Remdesivir have shown it can help coronavirus patients recover more quickly. Montefiore Medical Center is continuing to conduct trials for Remedesivir and has been encouraged by early results. It is also researching Sarilumab, Leronlimab and convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19.

Q: Does ultraviolet light kill coronavirus?

A: Ultraviolet light has been used to sterilize rooms, medical instruments and equipment but direct exposure can damage the skin and eyes. Recent investigations by Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research suggests low doses of far-UVC light could be effective, but it has not been tested or approved.

Q: Can ingesting disinfectants like chlorine or bleach protect you against coronavirus?

A: No. There’s a reason warning labels are put on household disinfectants. These products not only kill germs on surfaces, they can kill you as well. Drinking rubbing alcohol is equally dangerous; a 35-year-old man recently put himself in coma believing ingesting it would could protect him from the virus.
Q: Can colloidal silver fight off coronavirus?

A: Jim Bakker - the televangelist who spent almost five years in jail for defrauding his followers - praised a colloidal silver solution as a cure for coronavirus on his TV show. InfoWars founder Alex Jones has promoted products such as “Superblue Silver Immune Gargle” on his website. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called these and other products fraudulent, issuing cease and desist letters to Bakker, Jones and other sellers.

Q: If you get the flu vaccine, will it protect you from coronavirus?

A: The symptoms of the flu and coronavirus are similar but they are different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus (hence the name), and the flu is caused by influenza. While a flu shot can’t prevent coronavirus, it’s still a good idea to get one every year to avoid or lessen the severity of the flu.

There are a lot of common myths about coronavirus, but the bottom line is there is no cure – at least not yet. The world is working hard to create a vaccine and in the meantime, if you think you have symptoms, call your doctor. They are here and ready to help.

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