The spread of the novel coronavirus across the globe has given way to a number of messages with claims of various remedies, treatments and cures for the virus. Most of these messages, despite being based on pseudoscience, are misunderstood to be right because of false contexts or genuine sounding jargon.
Claim: A WhatsApp message claiming to be news from CNN, reads that the Chinese whistleblowing Dr. Li Wenliang was researching treatments and cures for the virus and he found three effective chemicals, all of which were found in tea.
The text reads:
Breaking News from CNN :-
Dr. Li Wenliang, China’s hero doctor who was punished for telling the truth about Corona Virus and later died due to the same disease, had documented casefiles for research purposes and had in the casefiles proposed a cure that would significantly decrease the impact of the COVID – 19 Virus on the human body. The chemical Methylxanthine, Theobromine and Theophylline stimulate compounds that can ward off these virus in a human with atleast an average immune system. Whats more shocking is that these complex words that were so difficult for people in China to understand is actually called Tea in India, YES, our regular Tea has all these chemicals already in it. The main Methylxanthine in tea is the stimulant caffeine. Other Methylxanthines found in tea are two chemically similar compounds, Theobromine and Theophylline. The tea plant creates these chemicals as a way to ward off insects and other animals. Who would have known that all the solution to these virus would be a simple cup of TEA. and that is the reason so many patients in China are being cured. The hospital staff in china has started serving tea to the patients 3 times a day, And the effect is finally in Wuhan “The centre of this Pandemic” has been contained and community transmission has almost stopped.
Please Share this message to your friends and family to make them aware about this blessing in the form of TEA in your kitchen.
The WhatsApp forward is false and misleading. A simple keyword search for ‘Li Wenliang’ of CNN’s website returns 10 results, none of which refer to tea as a remedy or a cure. Most reports refer to him as a Chinese whistleblower, and some are stories published after his death.
Dr. Wenliang’s Wikipedia page also doesn’t give any information regarding any treatment or remedies. He was one of the first people to talk about there being a ‘SARS-like’ virus going around in China, but it was too early for him to have researched and found conclusive ‘remedial’ treatments.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) also fact-checked the message in a post, calling the claim false.
AFP spoke to Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara, director of the Sri Lanka Medical Research Institute, who said, “While drinking tea can be beneficial for one’s health, it cannot be touted as a preventive measure or a treatment in the case of COVID-19. The only way to minimize infection as recognized by other international health agencies, is social distancing, following proper hand hygiene and refraining from touching one’s eyes, mouth and nose.” He added that there was “no research” to support the claim yet.
Therefore, there is no concrete evidence that tea can actually be used to treat or cure the novel coronavirus.