Eating Garlic Protects me from COVID-19? WHO Experts Bust Myths

3 min read
Eating Garlic Protects me from COVID-19? WHO Experts Bust Myths
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The World Health Organisation's weekly show Science in 5 brings together some of the biggest scientists, experts and doctors who are working on the coronavirus to educate on the various aspects of the disease, the pandemic, vaccines and treatments.

The show is hosted by WHO's head of strategy, department of communications, Vismita Gupta-Smith. Do listen in to these myth busters with Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of the Department of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness.

Dr Briand’s team in WHO tracks several dangerous and pathogens around the globe including COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 actually caused by a bacteria? If so, can it be cured by using antibiotics?

COVID-19 disease is caused by a virus and this has been proven many times. The virus has been isolated by many laboratories in the world and we even have the genetic sequence data of the virus. So, it’s not a bacteria and using antibiotics to treat COVID-19 will not help because it’s a virus and not a bacteria. But what we have seen in some hospitalized patients is that they were given antibiotics, not to treat COVID-19 but to prevent superinfection by other bacteria because some people are really fragile and we fear that, on top of COVID-19, they can get also another bacterial infection.


Does consuming a lot of alcohol cure COVID-19 by sanitizing and disinfecting you?

No, in fact, drinking alcohol doesn’t cure or doesn’t prevent COVID-19 infection. The virus is not sensitive to the alcohol we drink. But maybe people are confused because they see that we use hydroalcoholic gel to wash our hands but in reality, the alcohol that is in the hydroalcoholic gel is much more concentrated. And this is certainly not something that you can drink, otherwise it will have serious side effects. So, it’s only to wash your hands, not for drinking.

Does consuming garlic protect you from COVID-19?

Regarding COVID-19, so far we have no evidence that garlic is a treatment for this disease. So some studies are studying it but again, I mean we need to really cross check the different studies before making any recommendation about garlic. What is for sure is that it’s not good for health to abuse garlic and to take too much garlic expecting that garlic will cure the disease. I think it’s important for people and I understand that people can be very stressed and very anxious about this disease but there are other ways to reduce anxiety and there are other things people can do to be better protected, like washing hands, wearing a mask in crowded places, maintaining physical distancing.


How do scientists verify these myths?

The issue with the scientific process is that it’s a long process because at the beginning you have a hypothesis and you wonder “maybe this product or this drug can work and be a treatment for this new disease.” But then you have to implement studies in different places to check if really it works or not. And so, this is the scientific process that, at the end, enables you to have evidence. But it takes time. You need to test the hypothesis on many, many people before you can get definitive results. So, until all the studies are done, we cannot say there is evidence. And currently with COVID-19, it was a new disease only a few months ago, so studies are ongoing. But as I said, it takes time. Some studies are finished and they get results. So, the results are really interesting, but before having a conclusion or a definitive answer, we need to see what are the results of the other studies and make sure that all the studies conclude to the same thing,

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Topics:  WHO   COVID-19   Coronavirus 19 

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