False COVID-19 virus reports in Nigeria

The spreading of fake news is a common phenomenon globally without Nigeria being an exception. Since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, there are several false information flying around the internet about the new virus.

This isn’t just the first case of misinformation during a global pandemic as a similar occurrence happened in 2014, during the Ebola virus outbreak. Then, a viral WhatsApp broadcast prescribed bathing with or drinking salt and hot water mixtures as a “cure” for the dreaded disease.

Despite the fact that there was no medical basis for it, the wrong prescription still went viral. This led to the death of at least two people and several others were hospitalized over excessive salt consumption.

While it makes sense to be updated on reports around the coronavirus pandemic, it is also very essential not to be misinformed by false news.

Here are some of the wrong information about the coronavirus disease that have been debunked since Nigeria recorded its first case:

Gargling mouthwash as protection against COVID-19 virus

One of the common false myths about coronavirus disease is the claim that the virus could be killed by gargling with warm water. The World Health Organization (WHO) debunked this claim on Twitter during one of its question and answer session

According to WHO, there is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. Clinical trials are, however, ongoing to find a solution to the disease.

Saline Solution

There was another claim from a post that went viral on Facebook that the saline solution of warm water and salt or vinegar can cure the human coronavirus disease. This has been debunked as NHS only recommended gargling with warm saline as a solution for adults suffering from sore throat and not as a cure for coronavirus disease.


image showing the dettol bottle

A viral image of a bottle of Dettol, the well-known disinfectant used to clean surfaces, has been widely shared on social media, with people noting that the label says the surface cleaner is effective against “human coronavirus”.

However, Dettol has not been proven to kill or treat the new coronavirus although the use of surface cleaning solutions such as Dettols are recommended to reduce the general spread of infections.

Sun as a cure

There is another erroneous claim that staying in the sun for prolonged hours could kill the virus. This has not been proven and should be disregarded.

You can learn about the myth of heat and coronavirus here


Chloroquine is an antimalaria drug. It hasn’t been endorsed by any medical or pharmaceutical body as a cure to the COVID-19 virus. It should be noted that if the right dosage of the drug is not used, one could suffer from its side effects and other severe clinical complications.

Neem Leaf, Pawpaw Leaf, Ginger and Garlic

In accordance with a tweet by the Nigeria health watch, there is no evidence that cooked neem leaves, pawpaw leaves, ginger, garlic, orange, and lime can cure coronavirus disease. While these leaves may have some antimicrobial properties, they cannot cure the new coronavirus disease.

To stay updated and not be misinformed, updates from health-related bodies such as WHO, CDC, NCDC or NHS are the reliable sources one could depend on.

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