Experts Shoot Down Osaka’s Claim That Gargling Helps Beat Virus
Experts cast doubt over claims by officials in the city of Osaka that a gargling medicine could help treat coronavirus patients, even as shelves across Japan were stripped clean of popular brands.
There’s not enough evidence to support Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura’s claim that gargling with diluted povidone-iodine could prevent mild coronavirus patients from falling seriously ill, Toshio Nakagawa, chairman of the Japan Medical Association, told reporters Wednesday. The World Health Organization Centre for Health Development also added to skepticism.
“I understand that the governor must be very concerned about the sudden growth of cases in his region and is looking for some positive news,” said Nakagawa. “I don’t intend to attack the claim as being inappropriate, but the position of our organization is that we should keep calm and research it.”
Yoshimura said at a briefing Tuesday that a study in Osaka had found gargling with diluted povidone-iodine four times a day reduced those testing positive in a group of 41 patients to just 9.5% after four days, compared with 40% for a group who gargled with just water. That announcement spurred panic buying of popular brands across the country, sending shares of producers and distributors soaring. They gave back most of those gains Wednesday.
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