Dietary Supplement Claims and Coronavirus Disease

Currently, there are no vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is caused by the virus, SARS-CoV-2. However, some dietary supplement manufacturers claim to have a "cure" or can treat COVID-19. These are scams because this is a new (or novel) virus and researchers have yet to identify a safe medicine, supplement, or vaccine that can cure or treat this disease.

It should be noted that between 2002 and 2003, there was an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), caused by SARS-CoV. No more cases of SARS-CoV have been reported worldwide. SARS-CoV is about 80% similar to SARS-CoV-2 [Zhou et al. 2020]. In 2014, researchers reviewed medicinal plants and supplements that had anti-viral properties [Lin et al. 2014]. It was found that extracts from 10 medicinal plants either inhibited SARS-CoV's attachment to cells or prevented its growth.

Only one medicinal plant, Houttuynia cordata (common names: chameleon plant and fish mint), was used in combination with western medicine to treat SARS patients [Li et al. 2006]. The study indicated that chameleon plant has the potential to improve patient outcomes. In general, people widely use Echinacea and elderberry for infections. Research has shown that these herbs may stimulate the immune system. However, the benefits of chameleon plant, Echinacea, and elderberry against COVID-19 are unknown. Research can change that.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

According to a peer-reviewed article published in June 2020, face masks reduce the airborne transmission of COVID-19 [Zhang et al. 2020]. The researchers compared the number of daily new cases in Italy, New York City and Wuhan, and found that requiring both face coverings and social distancing were more effective than social distancing alone. The paper also mentions that CDC and WHO largely ignored the prevention of airborne transmission. Does a face mask protect you? This is currently unknown, but a mask protects those around you. A revised best practices for keeping yourself healthy and controlling the spread of COVID-19 is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing of 6 feet (1.8 meters), and wear a face mask.

stop the spread of COVID-19

Countries with Highest COVID-19 Cases | Updated: 23 September 2020

Countries Confirmed Cases Deaths Case Fatality Rate Recovered
Worldwide 31666012 972372 3.07% 21785468
United States 6902930 201120 2.91% 2646959
India 5646010 90020 1.59% 4587613
Brazil 4591364 138105 3.01% 4016831
Russia 1117487 19720 1.76% 920602
Colombia 777537 24570 3.16% 650801

For more information about the number of cases in your country or community, please visit the following resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Johns Hopkins University, and World Health Organization (WHO).

Sellers Making False Health Claims

We have also compiled a list of sellers making false COVID-19 treatment claims. The products from these sellers, which includes chlorine dioxide (a bleach solution marketed as Miracle Mineral Solution or MMS) and colloidal silver, should be avoided because these can harm your health.

List of fraudulent sellers as of 10 September 2020:

Deaths and Overdoses Associated with COVID-19 Self-Treatment

On 07 July 2020, the Brisbane Times reported that consumers taking ArmaForce, an herbal supplement claimed to treat and relieve cold and flu symptoms, had coronavirus-like symptoms. For several months, people taking ArmaForce reported that they lost their sense of taste (one symptom of COVID-19). ArmaForce has since reduced the dosage and duration of use. If you have any side effects or adverse events associated with a particular dietary supplement product, please submit a report.

During a press conference on 23 April 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump said, "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or, or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number alone. So, it'd be interesting to check that, so that you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds, it sounds interesting to me." On 24 April 2020, a reporter asked President Trump about his disinfectant comments to which he replied, "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen." Confusion over President Trump's comments led to an increase in calls to Poison Control Centers. Our take on the situation: Please do NOT inject yourself with bleach or disinfectant, and please do NOT drink bleach or disinfectant.

After U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the following on 21 March 2020, HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine [...], people have overdosed on chloroquine, a medication similar to hydroxychloroquine, including 1 death in the United States:

how to wash produce

Raw Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Coronavirus

According to the USDA, there is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted from fresh fruits and vegetables to humans. Nonetheless, it is recommended to follow good hygiene practices. To keep produce safe, follow these steps:

  1. Avoid bruised or damaged produce
  2. Before cleaning produce, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  3. Only use clean potable water to wash produce; do not use bleach, detergents, or soap because fruits and vegetables will absorb these chemicals and this can harm you
  4. Before peeling a fruit, wash it with clean water and then dry with a paper towel
  5. For produce with a thick skin, use a vegetable brush to help wash away bacteria and viruses
  6. For vegetables like broccoli or leafy greens, soak in clean water for 2 to 5 minutes and then rinse with clean water
  7. Remove the outermost leaves of cabbage and lettuce and then wash with clean water
  8. To remove additional bacteria and viruses, dry produce with a clean paper towel

Sources: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The University of Maine, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services