The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to several traders that are selling products that allegedly can cure, treat, or prevent the coronavirus.

The FDA sent out warnings to Herbs of Kedem, GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd, Earthley Wellness dba Modern Alternative Mama LLC, and Gaia Arise Farms Apothecary. They received the warnings between Apr. 10 and 13. The agency instructed them to take "immediate action" to correct their various violations. Meanwhile, from Apr. 7 to 8, another five companies received notification letters from the FDA.

The FDA advised the sellers to review their websites, product labels, and other labeling and promotional materials to ensure that they are not misleadingly representing their products as safe and effective for coronavirus-related use for which FDA has not approved them. The letters added that they must not make claims that misbrand the products in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Small bottles labbeled with a
(Photo : REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
Small bottles labbeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020.

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Consumers advise being cautious

According to the letters, the FDA urged the consumers not to buy or use products that had not been approved, cleared, or authorized by the agency. The agency warned consumers to take extra caution on buying products that might falsely claim as safe and or effective for the treatment or prevention of coronavirus.

Several drugs are showing potential to help treat patients with COVID-19, but all of these possible treatments are still undergoing further study.

FDA said that it's not the first set of warnings that the agency issue to sellers that claimed that their products could cure, treat, or prevent the pandemic virus. The agency added that since late March, they had sent letters at least 14 other businesses that falsely advertise its products concerning coronavirus. Moreover, several other medical bodies have beefed up their effort to curb the misinformation about coronavirus spreading online by setting up "Fact vs. Myth" type forums on their websites.

Feeding the right information

On the other hand, health entities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins Medicine, and several others kept their forums up to date with the latest information to dismiss the rumors about the pandemic.

Even social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have joined the fight against fake online news about the virus. These social media companies deployed tools to tear down fake coronavirus news and halt the content from going viral. Still, doubtful claims about treatment, cures, and even where the origin of the virus is spreading online. It had been reported that one theory gaining wild popularity is about how 5G technology is the real cause of the nearly two million infected people worldwide.

In an interview with Fox News, Digital Shadows strategy and research analyst Alex Guirakhoo noted that "people are moving online in unprecedented numbers [and] the public health crisis is making it easier...to exploit people's anxieties."

As of writing, the total number of people infected by COVID-19 worldwide has already surpassed the two million mark with about 131,101 deaths due to the virus.

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