Health experts warn against chlorine dioxide 'Covid-19 treatment'

AFP, Thailand/January 17, 2022

Facebook posts in Thailand tout chlorine dioxide as a Covid-19 treatment, claiming it "eradicates" that disease. The claim is misleading; there is insufficient scientific evidence that chlorine dioxide is effective in treating Covid-19 and health experts warned it should not be consumed by humans. Thai health authorities said chlorine dioxide has not been approved as a Covid-19 treatment in the kingdom as of January 13.

"ClO2 or CDS or MMS completely eradicates Covid-19. Bolivia has legally authorised the use of chlorine dioxide for Covid-19 treatment (because it has been opposed by vaccine manufacturers)," reads a Thai-language Facebook post shared on November 30, 2021 in a group with more than 32,000 members.

ClO2 refers to chlorine dioxide, while CDS is Chlorine Dioxide Solution.

MMS stands for Miracle Mineral Solutions, a common name for chlorine dioxide.

'Deadly' health effects

Health experts warned against consuming chlorine dioxide to treat Covid-19.

Teerayut Vilaivan, a professor of chemistry at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University said there was "no scientific evidence chlorine dioxide is effective in treating Covid-19".

"Chlorine dioxide is a chemical substance which effectively eradicates germs, but only for industrial purposes as a bleacher or surface cleaner. It must not be used in humans," he told AFP on January 10.

"Chlorine dioxide has very dangerous properties. Those who take it can suffer deadly health effects. It should not be used as a medicine."

Misinformation about chlorine dioxide as a purported cure for diseases has circulated for decades, including HIV and more recently Covid-19, Teerayut said.

Thailand's Department of Disease Control said chlorine dioxide has not been authorised as a treatment against Covid-19 in the kingdom.

The institute's Deputy Director-general Dr. Kajornsak Kaewcharat told AFP on January 13: "We have not approved the use of chlorine dioxide for treating Covid-19 patients in Thailand."

"Health professionals should provide medication according to the patient's symptoms, such as paracetamol or molnupiravir."

"Other patients with severe symptoms will have to be hospitalised and cared for by health professionals."

Chlorine dioxide in Bolivia

Chlorine dioxide is a controversial issue in Bolivia as lawmakers and politicians tout the substance as a cure for Covid-19, but health experts warn against its use.

In June 2020, the Bolivian health ministry warned against its use.

"Chlorine dioxide is used as a surface disinfectant and bleach for organic materials," it said in a statement that listed side effects as respiratory and liver failure, severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Despite this warning, Bolivian Congress enacted a law in October 2020 that allowed the production and use of chlorine dioxide to treat Covid-19.

The new law is still valid as of January 15, 2022, according to the government website.

The World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organisation has warned against its use, as well as regulatory agencies in the United States , Chile , Spain , Peru , Colombia , Paraguay , Argentina , Ecuador and Uruguay.

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