Like every other fake news report, Many Nigerians woke up to a viral WhatsApp broadcast recently, claiming that steam from boiled Uda (Negro Pepper), Uziza (Benja Black Pepper), Lime and ginger can cure Coronavirus.
The broadcast has since gone beyond private messages to different WhatsApp groups targeting most people from the South-Eastern part of the country.
Although this newspaper can’t accurately predict the intentions behind the spread of this information, One can assume that the motive behind this development stems from ‘fear’ and the natural human instinct for survival amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
As an independent fact-checking newspaper, POLITICS NIGERIA embarked on verifying the authenticity of the widely circulated broadcast.
This newspaper understands that people from the south-eastern part of the country use Negro pepper and Benja Black Pepper to treat various forms of ailments, conditions including post-natal care.
While there is no research that negates the claim or supports the claim, experts say COVID-19 is difficult to handle because it’s a novel virus. The World Health Organisation(WHO) has maintained that there is no approved drug or therapy that cures the disease yet.
An expert, Martins Ekor, said: “Herbs have been shown to be capable of producing a wide range of undesirable or adverse reactions some of which are capable of causing serious injuries, life-threatening conditions, and even death.”
Live Science also states that there is no known cure for the virus. “Currently, however, there is no cure for this coronavirus, and treatments are based on the kind of care given for influenza (seasonal flu) and other severe respiratory illnesses, known as “supportive care,”.
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine claims
The Centre for disease control and prevention(CDC.gov) has stated that there is no known or tested cure for the virus. “There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
“Current clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care”. The CDC lists Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and Remdesivir as therapeutic options that can help to ‘manage’ the virus not cure it.
Similarly, BBC health correspondent, James Gallagher, says that “Chloroquine seems to block the coronavirus in lab studies. There’s some anecdotal evidence from doctors saying it has appeared to help,”.
However, there is insufficient evidence from clinical trials to prove that Chloroquine can treat the virus.
POLITICS NIGERIA understands that as at the time of this check, Nigeria has close to 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 already with six deaths.
Based on detailed information about the virus, the claim that Uda (Negro Pepper), Uziza (Benja Black Pepper), Lime and ginger can cure Coronavirus is not scientifically proven, hence can’t be ascertained to be a ‘cure’.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has advised against self-medication; whether through the use of drugs or herbs as such use may compound a patient’s medical history.