A social media post has been going around claiming that a cure for COVID-19 has already been discovered by the Italian Health Ministry. The claim started when Italy reported that their new COVID-19 cases were at its lowest since April. Though this positive news could be the result of a nationwide quarantine that lasted for a few months, a post on Facebook connected it to a somewhat medical conspiracy.
The said Facebook post maintains that Italian doctors have purportedly discovered that COVID-19 is not actually a virus as previously reported. They claim that the cause of the pandemic was a bacterium, which causes the blood the clot and lessen the oxygen saturation from circulation all over the body. The controversial post went on explaining that the Italian Ministry of Health didn’t follow the protocol of the World Health Organization that the bodies should not receive autopsies.
The Bacteria Hoax
The main claim that Italy has discovered that COVID-19 is a bacterium is FALSE. The disease is due to the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Though viruses and bacteria can produce the same symptoms and spread by human-to-human transmission, they are biologically different.
The difference is that bacteria have the ability to reproduce without a host cell while viruses need a host to reproduce. Also, bacteria can reproduce because they have the capacity to develop their DNA and they are considered as a living organism but viruses possess RNA.
As COVID-19 spread all over the world at a fast pace, scientists all over the world are working separately to isolate the new virus. For instance, different health agencies in the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States stated that COVID-19 is indeed viral. These are also the findings done by studies in Italy, Australia, Malaysia, Korea, France, and Nepal.
The Cure Hoax
Another COVID-19 fake news is that simple anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and anticoagulants can cure the disease. But according to experts, antibiotics have nothing to do in treating COVID-19. However, they are usually given to the patient to combat auxiliary bacterial infections.
The Facebook post claiming that an infected person with COVID-19 can be treated by paracetamol is also not true. Paracetamol is only given to provide relief from pain, which is necessary for high fever but it doesn’t treat COVID-19.
The Italian Health Ministry stated that there is still no specific cure for COVID-19 and the treatments used for patients are mainly to provide relief for its symptoms. The World Health Organization added that currently, there are no medications licensed for preventing and treating COVID-19.
For now, there are clinical trials done in Australia and the Netherlands to determine whether current tuberculosis vaccines could help in treating COVID-19.
Another possible candidate for COVID-19 treatment is the polio vaccine. According to experts, these vaccines have the ability to improve the immune system, which is essential in fighting the virus. However, this theory is yet to be confirmed.
When we look at the history of creating vaccines, there are obstacles that are usually met when it comes to efficacy and safety that delay the entire process. The development of vaccines is complex and though there are different possible options available, it is important to be sure that the vaccine is safe to use so every candidate for vaccine has to go through clinical tests.
The general advice of the Health Ministry for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is to stay home, rest, eat nutritious food, and drink lots of fluids. It is also essential to wear a mask at all times, which should be changed on a regular basis. If the patient cannot endure wearing the mask, he or she must maintain a strict respiratory regimen including covering his or her nose and mouth with handkerchief or tissue whenever he or she sneezes or coughs and make sure to throw the tissue immediately. Handwashing with soap and water should also be a routine.