Docs Say No Data to Claim Tea Can Cure COVID-19, It’s a Fake Msg
A viral WhatsApp message falsely claimed that tea can cure coronavirus.
A viral WhatsApp message falsely claimed that tea can cure coronavirus.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Docs Say No Data to Claim Tea Can Cure COVID-19, It’s a Fake Msg

China has exonerated Dr Li Wenliang, who was officially reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease in February, a startling admission of error by the ruling Communist Party that generally bodes no challenges to its authority, AP reported.

CLAIM

Now, a viral WhatsApp message claims that Wenliang had allegedly documented case files that proposed a cure to contain the impact of the novel coronavirus on humans. The message mentions three chemical compounds methylxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline that can help cure the disease if a person has an average immune system.

These compounds are present in the tea that we drink and the hospital staff in China has started serving tea to the infected patients three times a day, the message further adds.

A website called ‘The Shivalik’ published the exact same message in an article on Tuesday, 24 March.

(Photo Courtesy: The Shivalik/Screengrab)

The Quint received multiple messages on its WhatsApp helpline number to verify the claim.

(Source: WhatsApp/The Quint)

The message has been circulated on Twitter and Facebook.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ Screengrab)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ Screengrab)
(Source: Facebook)
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NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM, SAY DOCTORS

The Quint got in touch with Dr Neeraj Jain, Internal Medicine, Gangaram Hospital, who rubbished the claim and said, “Fact-checks can only be based on scientific data. At present, there is absolutely no evidence or data to support the claim that tea can cure coronavirus.”

To understand the correlation between tea and coronavirus and whether these compounds are present in tea, we got in touch with Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, and he said that these compounds are present in tea but it is difficult to claim that tea can cure coronavirus at this point of time since there is no evidence.

“Where is the study to prove this? Where is the evidence? Till the time there is no evidence to prove it, my take is that you cannot claim that tea can cure coronavirus.”
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF METHYLXANTHINE, THEOPHYLLINE, AND THEOBROMINE

As per Drugs.com, a website recommended by US Food Drug and Administration (FDA), methylxanthines, theophyllines are used in the treatment of airways obstruction which is caused by health conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis. It further mentions that caffeine and theobromine are also methylxanthines and theophylline is the most commonly used methylxanthine.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) book ‘Coffee, Tea, Mate, Methylxanthines and Methylglyoxal,’ mentions that theophylline finds its occurrence in black tea at very low levels. The book also says that it is used to control asthamatic symptoms and in treating respiratory diseases.

The IARC is a part of the World Health Organisation.

As far as the part of the message claiming that Dr Li Wenliang had proposed a cure for the virus, we could not find any credible resource online that would corroborate the claim.

You can read all our coronavirus related fact-checked stories here.

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