Healthcare/Biosafety

Fake Treatment: Which Media Outlets Spread News about Unlicensed Drugs?

21 May, 2020

Georgian tabloid Alia published in its May 18-24 issue an article headlined “My drugs are for those, who are infected with COVID-19 as well as for those who want to avoid getting infected.” In the interview with Alia, Avtandil Kurdgeladze, who has a keen interest in photomedicine, noted that he created a medicine called “corvirant,” which is used in treating respiratory infections and successfully fights COVID-19 as well.

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Alia published the interview with Avtandil Kurdgeladze and the information about the unknown drug “corvirant,” which has not passed any clinical trial, without providing any explanations, thus promoting fake treatment. There are currently no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Efforts are still underway to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19. Some specific drugs are being tested through clinical trials. Although the primary testing carried out by some companies proved successful, there is no COVID-19 vaccine available for massive use and further stages of clinical trials are still ahead. Scientists do not have an exact answer about when COVID-19 drug or vaccine going well with safety and efficacy testing will be available. 

Why are the methods of fake treatment dangerous? 

Besides the article published by Alia about “corvirant,” online media outlets geotimes.com.ge and tvalsazrisi.ge also published articles about fake treatment in May. According to the articles, wine and vodka can be used to treat COVID-19. Tvalsazrisi.ge offers a video allegedly featuring an Italian-based Russian doctor giving COVID-19 treatment recommendations and advising to breathe vodka once the coronavirus symptoms appear. Noteworthy that the World Health Organization warns that drinking alcohol does not protect us against COVID-19 and its frequent consumption can increase risks of health problems

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The World Health Organization also warns that there are currently no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 and the incorrect use of drugs that have not passed clinical trials is life-threatening. 

Online media outlets periodically spread the methods of COVID-19 fake treatment, including those that may cause health damage. According to some myths, drinking chlorine dioxide or other bleaching and disinfection liquids would protect us against the coronavirus. But actually, it will lead to serious life-threatening complications. Such fake reports promote reckless behavior that may result in deaths. At least 300 Iranians have died from methanol poisoning after consuming alcohol to prevent COVID-19. Some people died in the United States, Africa and Asia after overdosing hydroxychloroquine. 

Several dangerous incidents related to arbitrary treatment of COVID-19 were also reported in Georgia. In April, Guga Kashibadze, director of a Tbilisi-based burn center, said that citizens drank boiling water to fight COVID-19 and sustained severe injuries.


Prepared by Maiko Ratiani