Did WHO say drinking palm oil can stop the spread of COVID-19?

A message shared on WhatsApp as seen on Friday, January 15, 2021 says experts have confirmed that consumption of palm oil can help curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The claim was attributed to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It specifically claimed that drinking two spoonfuls of palm oil every morning would help curb the spread of the virus.

The Claim

WHO says consumption of palm oil can curb the spread of COVID-19.

False Claim on Corona Virus Vaccine
The findings

Findings show that the claim is FALSE.

The COVID-19 is a pandemic.

On December 31, 2019, the WHO Country Office in China became aware of the ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan city. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued a media statement on the disease outbreak.

The WHO says it took 98 days for the virus to infect 100, 000 people in Africa and just 18 days thereafter to hit 200, 000 cases.

As of January 15, 2021,  91,816,091 have been infected with 1,986,871 deaths recorded.

On October 22, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced approval of an antiviral drug Veklury – remdesivir. The drug is the first vaccine for COVID-19 treatment to receive the FDA approval.

By December 31, 2020, the WHO listed Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as first emergency use for the virus.

“This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines. But I want to emphasize the need for an even greater global effort to achieve enough vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere,” Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products stated.

The claim in circulation did not reference any expert or  source that can be validated

In addition, the manner at which the message was constructed also defies WHO’s communication pattern.

Charity Warigon, Head of Communication, WHO Nigeria, dismissed the message and distanced the WHO from it.

Read Also: FACT-CHECK: Claim that warm water is effective in curing epilepsy, others is FALSE

“This is definitely not a WHO recommendation,” she told The FactCheckHub via a text message.

“In fact, for someone who is coughing, it could be dangerous as they could inhale oil which would be worse off.”

She queried if the claim was ever supported by any data.

“WHO will not make a recommendation without backing it by evidence,” Warigon adds.

She described the post as “another fake news.”

Professor Adebola Olayinka, WHO Infection, Prevention and Control Expert, also shared the same position with Warigon.

“No, not true. Another fake news,” she said.

This will not be the first time that a message will be falsely attributed to WHO.

The FactCheckHub had previously debunked a claim that said WHO shared ‘7 biggest brain-damaging habits’.



    The verdict

    Based on the above findings, the claim is FALSE.

    WHO did not send out the message circulating on WhatsApp which recommends that drinking two spoonful of palm oil can curb the spread of COVID-19.

    In addition, there is no evidence to back the claim that drinking two spoonfuls of palm oil can curb the spread of COVID-19; on the contrary, it might aggravate a situation where a person is coughing.

    This report was originally published by FactCheckHub

    Olugbenga heads the Investigations Desk at The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected]. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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