FDA

  • The use of ‘Air Doctor’ virus blockers as protection against COVID-19, how effective are they?

    Of recent, many notable personalities and political figures around the world go about their respective public functions with the ‘Air Doctor’ virus blocker tag. Sometimes known as ‘Virus Shut-Out’, they look like normal ID badges. 

    But according to their manufacturers, they are made of chemicals to wipe out airborne pathogens and protect wearers from disease.

    The manufacturers noted that the Air Doctor badge releases small amounts of chlorine dioxide which can kill airborne pathogens, including the coronavirus.

    It can be hung on the chest, pocket, or bag.

    But how true is this claim and how effective are these virus blockers?

    How does it work?

    As we adapt to new realities, new questions constantly arise. What kind of masks should be worn? Can air blockers be the solution for any of these problems? 

    Manufacturers claim that virus removal cards can kill bacteria and viruses because of the key ingredient; chlorine dioxide, a disinfectant used to treat drinking water and sterilise medical equipment. 

    The claim is that it is able to “provide protection against airborne pathogens”, presumably including the novel coronavirus.

    The tags, according to the manufacturers, “eliminate all forms of microbial life” and provide “ultimate protection against airborne infection diseases”, including for children, pregnant women and immuno-compromised people such as cancer patients. 

    The product is sold under various commercial names, including Air Doctor, Virus Shut-Out and Chlorine Card.

    Also, a Japan based company Kiyou Jochugiku Co. Ltd in July, launched “Air Doctor” in India. According to the company,  it is a portable product that helps prevent viruses, bacteria, and fungi from coming in contact with the user within a 1-meter radius. It contains sodium chloride, natural inorganic substances – natural zeolite.

    The company noted that the product is approved worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO), United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration and The Japan Ministry of Health, Welfare & Labor.

    The product has been marketed as a flu treatment in Japan since 2015, long before the novel coronavirus emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. 

    However, the Japanese consumer affairs agency on May 15, 2020 warned the public that the product was ineffective against COVID-19.

    How much does it cost?

    According to the manufacturers, once it is opened, the tags are effective for up to one month. 

    However, the effective period may differ under different circumstances.

    Dubawa found out that Cleaneat Integrated Services, is one of the major dealers of Air Doctor, Virus busters, and other air purifiers in Nigeria. 

    Dubawa found the items for sale online, checks revealed that the price of Air Doctor depends on the quality and also fluctuates depending on the level of demand for the tags. 

    Currently, the retail price for the Air Doctor tag is N17,000 while the wholesale price is N150,000/pack containing 12 pieces.

    How effective are these cards? 

    The card has been banned in several countries this year, including in the US, Thailand, and the Philippines.

    The “virus blockers” were originally created in Japan. They have been banned in Vietnam and Thailand, but are on sale in Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and the U.S. under a number of different brand names.

    In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned people to avoid products containing chlorine dioxide, saying that its ingestion by a number of individuals as a prophylactic against the virus has resulted in “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.” 

    Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned Virus Shut Out badges from entering domestic ports, and instructed Amazon to remove the product from their site. 

    Last month, when President Donald Trump made comments suggesting that injecting disinfectant could treat the coronavirus, supporters in conspiracy circles such as QAnon jumped at the notion that he was referring to chlorine dioxide — the chemical compound has long been touted and sold by fringe figures as a cure for everything from HIV to the common cold.

    No available evidence ‘Air Doctor’ purifies the air – NCDC

    The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is the country’s national public health institute, has stated that there is no available evidence to suggest the use of a body-worn tag often marketed as ‘Air Doctor’ purifies the air around the wearer. 

    The efficacy of such air-purifier pouches outdoors is also yet to be established, with Kiyou Jochugiku saying it becomes less effective in open-air settings. 

    Notable personalities in Nigeria have appeared in public in recent weeks wearing the “virus removal cards”, clip-on tags marketed as prevention against infectious diseases. 

    ‘Devices have not been registered by NAFDAC’

    The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control disowned Air Doctor and other products that are marketed as capable of blocking COVID-19 from infecting the wearers.

    The regulatory agency told PUNCH HealthWise that the devices have not been registered by NAFDAC, even though it received applications for registration of some of them.

    An epidemiologist and population health scientist at Harvard University, Dr. Ibraheem Abioye, said, “There is really no evidence that the products work. The sellers claim that the products sanitise the air around the wearer. But we know that some of the people who have been the main advocates still became infected with COVID-19.

    “There are already science-backed actions that people should take and shams like these are likely to put people at risk.”

    Conclusion

    Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, WHO has repeatedly stated that there is no specific cure or prevention for COVID-19. 

    In August, the World Health Organization said there may never be a magical cure for the coronavirus even as scientists and drugmakers across the globe race to find a safe and effective vaccine.

    Air Doctor products are not licenced by FDA and in any other country by its drug control agency.  

    The active ingredient in Air Doctor and similar products is authorized to be used to disinfect medical instruments or food and is not to be used as a human protection against infection.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The Nation to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

  • Once More: Chloroquine is NOT Yet a COVID-19 Treatment!

    Controversies surrounding Chloroquine suggest health authorities approved it as a cure for Covid-19.

    Foremost health authorities, WHO, FDA and CDC and the likes have not approved Chloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. 

    Full Text

    The United States President, Donald Trump on 19th of March publicly declared Chloroquine as the long-awaited cure for the disease covid-19. Donald Trump went further to state that the Food and Drug Administration approved the anti-malaria drug.

    “The nice part is, it’s been around for a long time, so we know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody”

    President Donald J Trump

    Following the US President’s big reveal, netizens now contest prior reports that suggested Chloroquine was not a cure for covid-19.

    Furthermore, death report and overdose intake of the viral drug chloroquine has been all over the internet since President’s Trump’s proclamation.

    So far, this pronouncement by President Trump has caused more harm than good.

    Verification:

    Neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved Chloroquine as the cure for Covid-19. There are currently no FDA-approved treatment or vaccines for novel coronavirus of December 2019. 

    Further, the FDA has made it clear that it neither approved Chloroquine nor treatment with the drug for those infected with Covid-19. Moreover, it has not approved any therapeutics or medicines to treat, cure or prevent Covid-19. 

    In a report by Premium Times, the Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria had not approved the use of Chloroquine the treatment of coronavirus in the country. The Minister of health further reiterated that health authorities are yet to prove Chloroquine’s efficacy gainst Covid-19.

    He also stated that Nigerian would not adhere to the recommendations of US president, Donald Trump; instead, they will follow the guidelines and instructions as provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    Nonetheless, the anti-malarial drug Chloroquine is in FDA approved clinical trials; similarly, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administrative control, NAFDAC is reportedly conducting Chloroquine drug trials.

    Chloroquine Abuse

    Shortly after Trump’s Chloroquine big reveal, reports on social media and print suggest drug abuse from Chloroquine and even one death.

    Forbes reported of a man who died in Arizona, trying to immunise himself from Covid-19. Supposedly, they (the man and his wife) used the version (Chloroquine) meant for cleaning fish tanks resulting in his demise and his wife in critical condition.

    Additionally, in Nigeria, there are reports of Chloroquine poisoning. 

    Chloroquine and Covid-19

    Few Chinese doctors have reported success in utilising the anti-malaria drug in solving covid-19 cases. But, is this enough clinical evidence? Certainly NOT! Health experts still need more trials and tests before passing off Chloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment. 

    Meanwhile, CNN reportedly makes the WHO’s stance on all this clear. 

    The WHO’s position is clear. Any medication should be based on evidence. We don’t have yet any evidence from any of these trials that would allow WHO to do a formal recommendation. All these are in progress, so it is difficult for us to recommend at this stage that any of the medicine can be of use for the treatment of coronavirus

    Dr Michel Yao, Africa emergency response program manager for the World Health Organisation.

    Conclusion

    Unarguably, President Trump has made Chloroquine a wanted commodity. Still, it is in trials, and until proven otherwise, we advise against unprescribed consumption of Chloroquine. It is NOT going to cure, treat, prevent, immunise, or fight Covid-19.

  • Chloroquine Does NOT Cure Coronavirus!

    Social media posts claim Chloroquine, an antimalarial drug can cure  #COVID19.

    No health authorities have certified Chloroquine as a cure for coronavirus. WHO, the foremost authority on the subject, according to the Director-General of the body, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says while the organisation is currently conducting a number of drug trials, it does not expect a result before three weeks. More so, the “malarial Chloroquine used in China was not one of the drugs.”

    Full Text

    Yesterday, the most trending tweets featured the hashtag CHLOROQUINE

    The thread indicates that Chloroquine which is an anti-malarial drug and autoimmune disease drug is a proven cure for covid-19 (Coronavirus).

    We traced what may be the source of this dialogue to Verified Twitter page, China Science.

    Similarly, news site, Coinspeaker published a report saying: China Approves Favipiravir as Potent Treatment against New Coronavirus COVID-19 Strain.

    Verification

    Dubawa currently awaits a response to emails sent to representatives of the WHO, CDC and  NCDC.

    Dubawa checks found not only Chloroquine Phosphate as the only purported remedial treatments for coronavirus, but reports also named Favipiravir and Remdesivir.

    Global Times China and China Science on their verified Twitter handle attested to the fact that Chloroquine Phosphate an anti-malaria treatment drug has proven effective in treating Covid-19. The tweet says:

    Treatment not definitive

    It is essential to note the phrase “clinical effects” does not necessarily indicate a definite cure; but rather a potential solution to the virus. The post surmises Chloroquine Phosphate as a likely remedy to Covid-10, not a confirmed treatment.

    A report by Clinical Trials says Chloroquine yields positive data in Covid-19 trial.

    Another report says a group of researchers who have researched (Vitro cell research) on the disease outbreak, tested several antivirals in the lab for effectiveness against covid-19. The result was that Remdesivir stopped the virus from replicating in a lab dish. Further, the group found that Chloroquine was effective in preventing the infection from spreading in human cells in the lab. The researchers gave their feedback in a report published by the journal Cell Research.

    Their findings conclude that Remdesivir and Chloroquine are highly effective in the control of covid-19 infection in vitro (laboratory-controlled conditions).

    Excerpt from site

    Research Efforts

    Interestingly, a report by BBC News Pidgin noted the group found Remdesivir and Chloroquine as capable of blocking the virus infection at low-micromolar concentration. BBC Pidgin even released the names of the Chinese researchers:

    • Manli Wang
    • Ruiyuan Cao
    • Leike Zhang
    • Xinglou Yang
    • Jia Liu
    • Mingyue Xu
    • Zhengli Shi
    • Zhihong Hu
    • Wu Zhong &
    • Gengfu Xiao 

    In the report, a medical expert says the research findings are not strange to science; still, the claims of the Covid-19 response group will need higher authorities such as WHO for authenticity and mainstream application.

    New Turn in Events

    On 20th February, CNBC published a report claiming that the World Health Organisation expects preliminary results from two clinical trials. The story went on to state that these trials scheduled in three weeks are potential treatments for the virus.

    It stated that one trial combines HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir; while the other is testing U.S.-based biotech Gilead Sciences’ antiviral Remdesivir.  The Lead for clinical management in the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Janet Diaz said that there are currently no proven therapies for the new virus. Additionally, she said there is no proof to claims by some scientists that Chloroquine, can be a potential treatment for the infection.

    Similarly, Guardian (international edition) says that Doctors are looking into HIV and Ebola drugs for coronavirus cure, but results are not expected before March.

    Potential treatment

    Pointing to Remdesivir, one of the drugs under trial, The Guardian notes that Gilead, the manufacturers, had tested Remdesivir during the Ebola outbreak in the Republic of the Congo in  2018, with only limited cheering results; although it accepts that for now, the drug holds a pole position in the race for a solution to Covid-19.  “The new trial of remdesivir will be “gold standard” and investigate how well it works in moderately and severely ill patients compared with others given a placebo,” reports the Guardian.

    Meanwhile, WHO which has set a three-week result timeline for drug tests its research and development experts are executing, clarifies that the anti-malarial Chloroquine used in China was not one of the drugs in trials, according to its director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

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