False claims touting cough syrup as ‘Covid-19 cure’ is misleading

False claims touting cough syrup as ‘Covid-19 cure’ is misleading

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Covid-19 cure’ is misleading

A YouTube video claiming Bromhexine syrup as a cure of Covid-19 is not backed up by any scientific evidence and is misleading people.

By Tej Kumar

A Youtube video with lakhs (to be exact 230,976 views at the time of writing this story) of views claiming that “Bromhexine can stop coronavirus” is false.

The video in Telugu language further claims, “If you have any doubt of coronavirus in your body with any symptoms, then take this drug immediately to stop coronavirus.”

It also has a highly misleading caption.

The post’s Telugu language caption translates to English as: “This medicine (Bromhexine) is bigger medicine than the Coronavirus vaccine. If you purchase this 100 Rupee tonic, then coronavirus will not come close to you.”

It further claims “Bromhexine syrup stops the spike of the virus in the body and suggests to get Bromhexine syrup and keep it at home are it is very difficult to find after getting infected. There are no alternatives to Bromhexine, there are some chemo medicines but they are very costly and unreachable.”

“If pure bromhexine syrup is not available, then one can take tablets”, he adds in the video.

The same video was shared on Facebook as well

First of all, what is Bromhexine syrup? Bromhexine is an over the counter medication that is used to treat chest congestion and cough. Bromhexine belongs to a group of medications called mucolytics, which works by breaking mucus down so that it is easier to cough out.

A research study in ‘Bioimpacts’ journal says that the early administration of oral Bromhexine reduces the ICU transfer, intubation, and mortality rate in patients with COVID-19. The study never mentioned that it could cure coronavirus directly.

There is another recent research study that contradicts the above research. The study published in BMJ Public Health Emergency Collection enhanced by the National Institute of Health, USA, says that Bromhexine is not an effective treatment for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The potential prevention benefits of Bromhexine in asymptomatic post-exposure or with mild infection managed in the community remains to be determined.

The study by BMJ public health emergency collection is very recent, and it has more than 100 participants, while the other study has 78 participants and was published last year.

Responding to this claim Dr Srinivasa Mantha from The International Anesthesia Research Society says that “Bromhexine is a mucolytic agent that decreases sputum thickness and is used in conditions associated with the abnormal mucus secretion, such as the common cold, respiratory tract infections and influenza. Hence it is speculated that it will be useful in Covid as well. But there are no randomized bulk clinical trials to prove its role in the management of Covid."

"It is also not included in the latest management plan (Version 2.1 dated 3 May 2020) released by AIIMS, New Delhi. At the most, it can be suggested as an additive agent in the management.”

There is no exclusive scientific evidence that Bromhexine will stop coronavirus, and it can be used only as an additive agent in treating coronavirus. Such claims are dangerous.