A video going viral on the internet claims that self-proclaimed medical expert called Andreas Kalcker has found that Chlorine Dioxide can cure COVID-19.
We found that Kalker and others working with him have claimed that Chlorine Dioxide, which they also call MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), can cure several other diseases such as malaria, HIV, autism and other conditions.
However, Chlorine Dioxide has not been verified by the medical and scientific community as a cure for COVID-19 or any other disease. In fact, several drug regulators have warned that its use can be dangerous to human health because of its toxic nature.
In the video that is going viral, Kalcker can be seen talking about the use of Chlorine Dioxide (CDS). He says, "CDS has amazing results when used as a theraputical. It increases oxygen in the blood and eliminated pathogens. It does not matter if it's a virus, fungus or microbe because it eliminates them by oxidation. It's like electric shock/burning. The oxidation process is big enough to eliminate the single virus but not big enough to eliminate the virus."
He then goes on to talk about the use of CDS in several countries like Ecuador, Bolivia etc and utters the oft-repeated conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was orchestrated by the global elites.
Former US President Donald Trump too suggested the use of bleach to cure COVID-19, following which, calls to the poison centre rose.
Claims about CDS and MMS, a solution of sodium chlorite in water, have been around for over two decades.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
CHLORINE DIOXIDE A CURE FOR COVID-19?
Chlorine Dioxide is used as a bleaching agent in the paper industry and to treat water to make it safe for drinking or in swimming pools. However, direct use of the compound in humans can pose significant health risks and has not been proven to treat diseases.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that while using chlorine dioxide as intended (not as a treatment for disease) is generally safe, direct exposure in larger quantities can cause “damage to the substances in blood that carry oxygen throughout the body.”
According to the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), "Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including COVID-19". The FDA had first warned about the dangers of ingesting the chemical compound in 2010.
The FDA warning said that ingesting chlorine dioxide could lead to severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, low blood cell counts and low blood pressure due to dehydration, respiratory failure, changes to electrical activity in the heart that can lead to potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms, and acute liver failure.
In the context of COVID-19, FDA issued a warning letter to those selling chlorine dioxide products as a prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Since then, several other drug regulators in different countries have asked people to not use Chlorine dioxide as a medication for COVID-19 and other diseases.
We reached out to Dr Satyajit Rath, an adjunct faculty of IISER Pune and an immunologist, who also said that he had not come across any study on curing COVID-19 with Chlorine Dioxide and added that ingesting it could be dangerous.
The Health Desk, a COVID-19 resource for journalists powered by public health experts, also says that "Chlorine dioxide has not been verified by the medical and scientific community as a cure for COVID-19 or other diseases, and its use can be dangerous to human health."
In the video, Kalcker claims that the effectiveness of CDS had been studied. However, we could not find any study on CDS on credible publications and medical journals such as The Lancet , New England Journal of Medicine and Science and British Medical Journal.
We conducted a Google Search for research papers and came across a study listed by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) on the ClinicalTrials.gov page. However, the study results were not published there and the last update was in June 2020. We found that the final report was published in the "Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine" on 8 March 2021.
German investigative journalism network Correctiv found that Eduardo Insignares Carrione, one of the authors of the study, "worked in a laboratory in Bogotá, which states that it conducts research on homeopathic medicines."
Another person named was Yohanny Andrade, who claimed to be working for the San Carlos Hospital in Bogotá. Correctiv found a press release published on 3 May 2020 in which the hospital distanced itself from the alleged study and said that "Andrade was only a medical contractor in the hospital and was not authorised to conduct studies."
The study also thanks Kalcker for providing the "wisdom" and in the reference includes books and articles written by Kalcker that have either been banned or removed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said that CDS does not protect against COVID-19 and consuming bleach or other disinfectants is "dangerous".
CHLORINE DIOXIDE, A UNIVERSAL ANTIDOTE?
Kalcker and Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and the self-appointed archbishop of a church dedicated to chlorine dioxide, have been claiming that bleach could cure diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, autism and almost every other disease.
According to this website, Humble has been promoting MMS since the 1990s as a cure for a wide range of diseases. Kalcker has, in past interviews, referred to Humble as his "Master".
In 2019, Amazon removed more than a dozen books - both from Humble and Kalcker - that falsely claimed that bleach can cure several diseases. Kalcker's book titled "Forbidden Health" was one of the books that were removed for spreading medical misinformation.
The step came after several parents in the USA, who used chlorine dioxide to treat their children’s autism, reported a developmental disorder with no known cure.
In 2018, Spanish fact-checking organisation called Maldita.es published a report on how CDS or MMS were not the cure for anything but were rather dangerous for human consumption. Since then, fact-checkers across the globe have debunked several claims about the use of the compound.
WHO IS ANDREAS KALCKER?
Kalcker, who claims to have researched on the various uses of Chlorine dioxide for over 13 years, does not call himself a doctor. His website says that "Andreas Kalcker is a biophysical researcher of German origin".
There is no record of his doctoral degree either, which some anti-vaccination websites claim he has.
Recently, Kalcker teamed up with a group of 3000 doctors called COMUSAV to advocate for chlorine dioxide treatments. Their campaign gained traction in several South American countries. In Bolivia, the group got support from the left-wing MAS party. After winning the presidency in 2020, MAS approved chlorine dioxide as a COVID-19 treatment, which was earlier rejected after a warning from the country's health ministry about its dangers.
Despite being banned on Facebook and YouTube, content from both COMUSAV and Kalcker can be found on alternate channels like Telegram and social media channels of other anti-vaccination activists.