A new, bizarre coronavirus ‘treatment’ is being touted by vaccine sceptics.
Anti-vaxxers on Facebook and Twitter have reportedly been singing the praises of povidone iodine, often sold under the brand name Betadine.
Betadine is an iodine-based topical treatment that is most often used as an antibacterial to treat cuts and scrapes.
Kenneth Weinberg, an ER doctor in New York, told Rolling Stone that the liquid is a relatively common cleaner in hospitals.
“If you’re in the ER and someone has a wound to sew it up, you use it to clean with,” he said.
When Rolling Stone’s EJ Dickson told the doctor that anti-vaxxers were gargling it to try to prevent coronavirus infections, he said “F*** me! Of course they are”.
The product is also used in some countries as a vaginal douche to treat itching, although doctors noted that it kills good bacteria as well as bad, so its use is not universal.
“Gargling, nasal spray and eye drops with 1 percent providone iodine (betadine) results in dramatically better outcomes with Covid infections. I do this every time I’ve been exposed,” one Facebook user wrote.
What’s troubling beyond the fact that Betadine does not prevent coronavirus – when asked if it had any preventative use, a doctor told Rolling Stone “f*** no” – is that the solution is meant as a topical treatment and is toxic if ingested.
There have been no studies suggesting that Betadine is useful in preventing the coronavirus, though some promoters have circulated a 2020 paper written by a Bangladeshi plastic surgeon that claims to support its use.
The company that produced Betadine has addressed the fad on its website, stating directly that its products are not useful in stopping the coronavirus.
Under it’s “Covid-19 response” section of its website, the company lists a response to the question “Can I use Betadine Antiseptic First Aid products to kill the coronavirus?”
The response listed says: “No. Betadine Antiseptic First Aid products have not been approved to treat coronavirus. Betadine® Antiseptic First Aid products should only be used to help prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burn,” the company states. “Betadine Antiseptic products have not been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 or any other viruses.”
Betadine does produce a sore throat gargle, but the company notes that product is also not useful in preventing the coronavirus. The sore throat gargle only includes 0.5 per cent povidone-iodine. The first aid cleaner contains 10 per cent povidone-iodine.
Mouthwashes like Betadine and Listerine are currently being studied and have shown some success in disrupting three strains of coronavirus, however those studies have only dealt with tissue samples – not actual humans. Listerine’s manufacturer has also stated that its product has not been proven as an effective coronavirus preventative.
Side effects from iodine poisoning can include kidney failure, abdominal pain, potentially bloody diarrhea, fever, coughing and delirium.