As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim more lives, more and more products are popping up falsely claiming to prevent the disease. One of those products getting popularity now in India is a so-called "virus shut out" necklace.
By Nabeela Khan
From Youtube to social media to shopping websites, ‘Virus Shut Out’ necklaces are gaining popularity. A Youtube video with the name 100% Original Virus Shut Out claims that it protects you from the epidemic virus but the claim has no scientific evidence. This video has been watched thousands of times. There are many more such videos promoting this so-called Virus Shut Out necklace.
Now it is being sold in India by the shopping website Amazon with the claim, “Virus Shut Out Air Sterilization Card”, “restricts virus with 1-meter circle from the product” and helps in “strong physical sterilization”.
The product also claims that the chlorine dioxide inside the necklace can “produce a strong bactericidal and disinfection effect” and effectively kills viruses. This claim is unsubstantiated and chlorine dioxide can be dangerous to humans too.
Chlorine dioxide is a manufactured gas and is used to disinfect drinking water. However breathing it or ingesting it can lead to harmful side-effects and may cause irritation in the nose, throat, and lungs.
In response to this, Dr. Rohini Karandikar, a science educator and a member of the Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 team, with the Hoaxbusters’ group, said, Chlorine dioxide is used as bleach. While bleach may kill coronavirus, it is known to cause serious damage to eyes, skin, and the respiratory system."
"Also how much carbon dioxide will be released from that necklace is not known", she added.
Its sale is banned in the U.S Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. "FDA has not yet approved the use of it and people will be misled as they might consider this as a safety measure and not take other precautions like wearing a mask or physical distancing", Dr. Rohini explained.
Despite bans, they can be easily found. In India, the reviews/comments beneath the product highlights that the product is either not genuine or doesn’t work highlighting that it is misleading people. One comment says “you only hang it in your neck and hope it does something.”
But there is still a demand for this product despite the fact that scientists have established that the coronavirus spreads through close contact and can only be protected by wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing, and disinfecting surfaces regularly.