Fake News: Vitamin C Does NOT Slow Or Stop Coronavirus

Fact Check

  • by: Chelsea Carter
Fake News: Vitamin C Does NOT Slow Or Stop Coronavirus

Do high doses of Vitamin C dramatically slow or stop the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus? No, that's not true: There is no known cure for the virus that to date has infected more than 24,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

The story appears to have originated with a press release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service that was picked up and published by Health Impact News on January 27, 2020, under the title "Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus." The article (archived here) began:

The coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.

Physicians have demonstrated the powerful antiviral action of vitamin C for decades. There has been a lack of media coverage of this effective and successful approach against viruses in general, and coronavirus in particular.

It is very important to maximize the body's anti-oxidative capacity and natural immunity to prevent and minimize symptoms when a virus attacks the human body. The host environment is crucial. Preventing is obviously easier than treating severe illness.

But treat serious illness seriously. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. It is not an either-or choice. Vitamin C can be used right along with medicines when they are indicated.

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Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C. Physicians have demonstrated the powerful antiviral action of vitamin

There is "no conclusive evidence" that taking large doses of Vitamin C will protect someone from the virus, Dr. Anthony Fehr, whose research includes work on coronavirus pathogens at the University of Kansas, told Lead Stories.

"I don't know of any dangers to taking large amounts of Vitamin C, just that it might give people a false sense of hope that they are protected," he said.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO say there is no specific "antiviral treatment" recommended for this virus, formally known as 2019-n-CoV.

"People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms," the CDC said in a statement posted on its website. "For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions."

The WHO is warning against misinformation regarding the prevention and treatment of the virus, including claims that taking large doses of vitamin C, drinking sesame oil or eating garlic will either prevent or slow the spread of it. The WHO has taken to social media with a #knowyourfacts campaign to combat such claims.

While taking Vitamin C supplements is potentially helpful for a person's health, CDC spokesman Scott Pauley told Lead Stories the agency "recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses." It includes the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes healthimpactnews.com as:

The website for Health Impact News, a network of health sites that publishes false content, including claims that drinking a bleach-like solution can cure autism.

According to NewsGuard, the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about healthimpactnews.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

Chelsea Carter is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Chelsea Carter

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