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What lessons did “salt as Ebola cure” teach us?

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria 3 mins read

A Facebook user suggested that palm oil can stop the spread of Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation did not list palm oil as one of its preventive measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19. There’s also no study that shows that it can stop or cure coronavirus. Currently, there is still no definitive cure or vaccine for covid-19; there are, however, ongoing pre-clinical and clinical trials. 

Full text

Despite unmasking several false claims about discovery of a cure for covid-19 in the last three months, purveyors of fake news are unrelenting even after several announcements that possible cures for or vaccines against covid-19 are still in clinical trials.

A Facebook user took to his page recently to pronounce that palm oil, one of the famously used oils in Nigeria, can stop the spread of Covid-19.  

The author gave a vivid instruction to potential users to take two spoonfuls of Palm oil daily to stop the spread of the virus. 

The post named its source as experts and the WHO without the organizational logo or trademark as the case may be.

Verification

Elaeis Guineensis (Palm oil) is edible oil and one of the most common oils made from the fruit of the oil palm tree. That said, there has been no study that shows or approves the ingestion of palm oil as a way to stop the spread of covid-19. And palm oil has not been endorsed by any accredited research including the World Health Organization to be an approved measure to prevent covid-19 infection.

The post never gave details beyond the qualifier “expert” as its source, making it impossible to verify the authenticity of the expertise behind the claim.

It is very unlikely that a respectable organization such as the WHO will confuse “LOVED ONES” for “LOVE ONES” as this post did; which also points out to the fact that the message in any way did not originate from the World Health Organization. 

Curb the spread or administer a cure?

To halt the spread of a virus or bacteria is to take precautions to limit the movement of the virus from one location to another. This post, however, placed its emphasis on reducing the spread of coronavirus. But ingesting a drug has the effect of either curing or reducing the effect of an ailment in the human body; it is not a means to halting the spread of the infection or ailment.

Moreover,  there has been no study that shows the daily intake of two spoonfuls of palm oil can stop the spread of Covid-19. Again, the confusion of terms in the claim raises suspicion about the competence of the author and calls the claim to for scrutiny. No authoritative source on medical matters will confuse the difference between preventive techniques and medications for the treatment of an existing ailment.

The WHO’s guidance to the spread of the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) remains the apex authority on information regarding this pandemic and related ongoing trials and prevention strategies. At no point, however,  did the WHO announce palm oil as a possible way to halt the spread of the virus. 

According to the WHO’s information service that provides the latest information and guidance on Covid-19, the guidelines to prevent the spread of the  virus include:

  • Frequent washing of your hands frequently;
  • Avoiding  touching of one’s eyes, mouth and nose;
  • Covering of your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze;
  • Avoiding crowded places;
  • Staying at home if you feel unwell – even with a slight fever and cough;
  • Seeking immediate medical care if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Conclusion 

Ingesting two spoons full of palm oil, daily will not stop the spread or cure of Covid-19. Dubawa implores the public to ignore this post to avoid history repeating itself. Let’s remember the consequences of salt intake during the Ebola period.

Temilade Onilede is a researcher and the Programme Assistant for Dubawa, Nigeria. She holds an undergraduate degree in Performing Arts From the University of Ilorin, Ilorin Kwara State. She is a trained journalist, with good research and writing skills, coupled with her knowledge in Journalism; a personable character and an engaging mind who is well skilled in the field of fact-checking and verification.

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