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Experts warn of products purporting to prevent coronavirus

Taking advantage of fears over the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, numerous adverts have popped up offering healthcare products said to strengthen one’s immune system and prevent the spread of the virus.

Many have fallen prey to the false advertising, rushing to order such items at inflated prices and regardless of their real health benefits, reported Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) Newspaper.

Experts warn that most of the products were not beneficial in preventing COVID-19, while others were considered harmful.

The supplements on offer include vitamin C, black garlic syrup and mouthwash, with prices ranging from 280,000 VND to 890,000 VND (12 to 38 USD) per product.

Health products for children are also abundant, with claims that medicines, supplements and even shower gels can improve a child’s immune system and strengthen their resistance to COVID-19.
One Facebook account touted an oral spray product from Australia as an effective remedy to ward off the virus if used daily, reported the paper.

The account also said the second coronavirus-infected patient in Vietnam was cured due to daily use of the spray.

At the Hapulico medicine wholesale market in Vu Trong Phụng street in Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan district, as well as drug stores on Ngoc Khanh street in Ba Dinh district, food supplements and health products were in high demand.

“Medicines for respiratory infections, vitamin C and multi-vitamin products have sold well recently,” said Thu Hang, a salesperson at Hapulico.

Notably, most of the supplements and healthcare products which were advertised had unclear information regarding ingredients, effects and origins.

As recommended by the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety Department, all supplements products and vitamins have effects on health but are not to be used in the treatment or prevention of diseases and viruses.

Tran Van Chau, an inspector from the department, told the paper they had discovered several violations in online advertisements for functional food products.

Doctor Lai Thanh Ha from Hanoi’s Thanh Nhan Hospital warned that people should be careful when buying supplements which were advertised as helping prevent COVID-19.

“SARS-CoV-2 was the new strain of the virus. There is no medicine and vaccine for the virus. So the functional foods certainly could not prevent the disease,” said Ha.

Regarding use of vitamin C, the doctor also warned of risks of overdose, causing digestive disorders and kidney stones.

Prof. Dr. Le Danh Tuyen, head of the National Nutrition Institution, advised people to eat healthy foods, cook meals properly, wash hands regularly and maintain hygiene./