Doctors warn Americans NOT to gargle iodine to prevent Covid

Betadine, an iodine-based antiseptic, has been falsely deemed a potential COVID-19 prophylactic. It is FDA-approved but has never shown any ability to combat viruses

An iodine-based antiseptic used for cleaning skin wounds is being touted by some anti-vaxxers as a way to prevent COVID-19. 

Povidone iodine, which is sold under the brand name Betadine, has been the subject of false claims on social media, pushing it as a potential vaccine replacement.

Doctors and even the producer of the Betadine, Avrio Health, have warned against misusing the antiseptic and say it does not have any ability to prevent or treat Covid.

It comes only weeks after reports of people overdosing on veterinary versions of ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, after reports that it could combat the virus. 

The rumor surrounding Betadine appears to have started on a Thai television show called Tok Mai Tiang, which translates into The Discussion.

On the show, a doctor claimed that gargling iodine could potentially prevent a person who has been exposed to COVID-19 from being infected.

The video has been viewed more than350,000 times online, not including those who watched the show live when it aired on Thai television.

Whether the views on the video come from Thailand or Western viewers is not known.

Rumors about Betadine originated from a Thai television show, on which a doctor (left) told hosts (right) that gargling the iodine could prevent COVID-19

Rumors about Betadine originated from a Thai television show, on which a doctor (left) told hosts (right) that gargling the iodine could prevent COVID-19

Other posts then began to crop up on social media sites such as Twitter, promoting the iodine to prevent infection from the virus.

‘Betadine nose spray and throat gargle 4x/day. I was taking all these except IVM before I got sick. Betadine as soon as I found out I was exposed,’ one Twitter post found by Newsweek wrote. 

The developers of the antiseptic quickly moved to shut down these claims.

‘No. Betadine Antiseptic First Aid products have not been approved to treat coronavirus,’ reads a COVID-19 page on the official Betadine website.

‘Betadine Antiseptic First Aid products should only be used to help prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burns. 

‘Betadine Antiseptic products have not been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 or any other viruses.’

Doctors have also warned against using the antiseptic as a method to treat or prevent Covid.

‘There is no evidence to support the use of povidone-iodine in preventing Covid-19 infection. If it actually worked, then we would be spraying it all the time,’ Dr Pokrath Hansasuta, an assistant professor of virology at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, told AFP.  

Betadine mouthwashes are often used to treat sore throats, a symptom someone may feel when infected with Covid.

Ointment versions of Betadine can also be used to treat skin rashes and prevent cuts and other abrasions from getting infected.

It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but not for use combatting viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

The situation is similar to that of ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug that has also been touted as a drug that could prevent or treat the virus.

Ivermectin is approved by the FDA for human use to treat certain parasite-related conditions, and it is regularly available by prescription.

However, many are harming themselves because they are purchasing versions of the drug meant for large animals like cows and horses at livestock stores and consuming doses of that are too large to be considered safe for humans.

Ivermectin’s developer, Merck & Co Inc, has also warned against using its drug to fight the virus. 

Clinical trials will soon begin in Minnesota to test whether or not the anti-parasite drug ivermectin is effective at treating COVID-19.