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Ignore false claims about Covid-19 treatment in ‘World Doctors Alliance’ video

“Breaking News” reads a banner on a short video clip posted on Facebook. In the video, people claiming to be “doctors, scientists and peace activists” say that “this affair of Covid-19 is just not true, and we have a duty as medical doctors to speak out the truth”.

The video was posted on 4 November 2020. It has  since been viewed more than 50,000 times worldwide, attracting some 2,000 reactions. It has been shared widely, including in Nigeria.

It opens with a man who introduces himself as “Heiko Schöning, a medical doctor from Germany”. He says it is “Berlin, 10 October 2020” and he and the group are there to “announce the World Doctors Alliance”.

He passes the microphone to another speaker, “Professor Dolores Cahill”. She says she has “a background in molecular biology and immunology and [is the] president of World Doctors Alliance”.

“We’re here to say that there’s good news,” Cahill says. “The coronavirus is a seasonal virus that causes illness and symptoms from December to April. And that for people who have symptoms, there are treatments like inhaled steroids, hydroxychloroquine and zinc.”

She adds: “So, there is no need for the lockdown, no need for fear, for masks, for social distancing or for quarantining people. They are locking people in their homes for last year’s flu where there is an effective treatment.”

Cahill is a professor of medicine at Ireland’s University College of Dublin. She has been widely criticised for disinformation and her claims about Covid-19 have been debunked

The same is true of the World Doctors Alliance. But we looked at the statements made in the video shared on Facebook.


Is coronavirus a seasonal virus, is Covid-19 ‘false’?

The new coronavirus, identified in December 2019 as originating from Wuhan in China, has infected over 134 million people across 192 countries in the world.

Over 2.9 million people have died from Covid-19, the disease it causes.

The World Health Organization director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a media briefing on 11 March 2020 that the WHO had “made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic”.

The US Centres for Disease Control, or CDC, has compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu. They are “both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses”, the agency noted.

And the coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world for more than a year, irrespective of seasons, and is therefore not seasonal. 

Can Covid-19 be treated with steroids, hydroxychloroquine and zinc?

The WHO has busted the myth of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in treating Covid-19.

“Studies show hydroxychloroquine does not have clinical benefits in treating COVID-19,” the global health agency notes.

Similarly, the CDC warned on 11 February 2021 that: “There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of zinc for the treatment of Covid-19.”

The CDC also recommended “against using zinc supplementation above the recommended dietary allowance for the prevention of Covid-19”.

Is there an effective treatment?

On 2 September 2020 the WHO recommended the use of dexamethasone, a steroid, in the treatment of severe Covid-19 cases. 

According to interim guidance by the CDC, the US Food and Drug Administration has “approved remdesivir (Veklury) for the treatment of Covid-19 in certain situations”. 

“As yet no other therapy has been found to be effective,” the WHO said on 4 March 2021 in response to claims by Catholic doctors in Kenya that there was an effective treatment for Covid-19.

Health agencies are still studying effective ways to treat Covid-19. The advice of Dolores Cahill and others associated with the World Doctors Alliance, on the subject of Covid-19, is untrustworthy.

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