ABP newspaper website publishes fake news: salt water not proven COVID19 cure

Quick Take

One of the most circulated Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika published a news on its digital website anandabazar.com on 5th July claiming that researchers of The University of Edinburgh have already discovered that gurgling with salt water can cure you from COVID19. The news report further was supported by a quote from an ENT in Kolkata, Dr. Shantanu Bandopadhyay, who claimed that salt water destroys the outer protein layer of the Novel Coronavirus. We investigated and found the claims to be false.

The Claim

The news report (published in Bengali) of Anandabazar.com, digital platform of Anandabazar Patrika on 5th July claims as per latest research only salt water gurgling is good enough to kill Coronavirus.

The article says, “Researchers in Edinburg University has discovered that hot salt water gurgling can kill the novel Coronavirus. Lead researcher Dr. Azizi Sheikh has claimed this while speaking to a British media”

The report further quotes an ENT from Kolkata, Dr. Shantanu Bandopadhyay, who claims that he has been already suggesting all his patients to salt water gurgle. Dr. Bandopadhyay further claims that “salt water destroys the outer protein layer of Coronavirus”

A snapshot of the report is given below and the archived version of the webpage can be seen here.

The message has also been viral on WhatsApp and was sent to us by one of our readers.

Fact Check

Was there any such research in The University of Edinburgh?

In an article published in BBC, it is said that, “The use of salt water in the treatment of Covid-19 is to be trialled by researchers in Edinburgh.

The report further quotes lead researcher Prof Aziz Sheikh who informed the media house that he and his associates have researched about the efficacy of salt water on normal cold and will now test the same on suspected or confirmed Covid19 patients. A snapshot of that news report as below:

What does Dr. Bandopadhyay say about his claim?

We reached out to Dr. Bandopadhyay asking for clarification. To our queries he sent a reply saying – “Salt water is proved viri cidal” (virucidal = substances that can kill viruses). Dr. Bandopadhyay did not clarify further on why he thinks that salt water will act on the novel Coronavirus too OR the source of his information.

We further informed him about WHO’s current stand on saline water’s effect on Coronavirus is negative. But he refused to comment.

We have reached out to Indian Medical Association on their official stand of the issue. We will update this article once we receive a reply from them. However, we did not find any circular from any authoritative bodies in India (Ayush ministry, IMA, Health Ministry) that talks about using saline water even as a preventive against Covid19.

In the meantime, below is the advisory on WHO’s website about saline water (as on July 22, 2020)

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