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Some clinics use fear-based marketing amid coronavirus panic
  • By Kim Eun-young
  • Published 2020.03.06 13:25
  • Updated 2020.03.07 15:29
  • comments 0

Healthcare experts warned that some medical institutions were taking advantage of the fear of the new coronavirus to promote injections and herbal medicines. However, there is no cure for the virus yet.

A simple internet search leads to a range of promotions by Oriental medicine practitioners and clinics. Some claim that a particular traditional herbal medicine could treat acute pneumonia caused by COVID-19. Others said an injection could prevent the infection with the deadly virus.

A family medicine clinic introduced an immunity-enhancing program named “Corona Injection.” The clinic claimed that the injection could boost autoimmunity, inhibit COVID-19 infection, and prevent the disease. The suggested injection is a cocktail therapy, mixing four injections -- Hishiphagen-C Inj., Laennec Inj., Megagreen Inj., and GC Selenium Inj.

The clinic said the Corona Injection could not only suppress the replication of the COVID-19 virus but also boost immunity without side effects.

A family medicine clinic promotes immunity-boosting injections, claiming that the therapies could inhibit the infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Another clinic also promoted “COVID-19 Immunity-Boosting Injection,” saying it could reinforce autoimmunity.

A third Oriental medicine clinic emphasized that stronger immunity could prevent COVID-19 and recommended “Gongjindan,” a combination of multiple herbal medicines, as a preventive drug against the virus.

Some other Oriental medicine clinics are selling “COVID-19 Immunity Traditional Herbal Medicine,” which they say are made out of China’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines using traditional Chinese medicine.

A fourth Oriental medicine clinic said it had two traditional herbal medicines against COVID-19. One is “Qingfei Paidu” soup to alleviate symptoms, and the other is “Yuping Fengsan plus Huoxiang Zhengqi San” to prevent the disease. The clinic promoted that the two therapies could lower the chance of contracting the virus or slow down the progress from infection to severe pneumonia.

The clinic cited a study to claim that people who took the Chinese traditional medicine were less infected with the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the swine flu. Oriental medicine could also prevent COVID-19, the clinic said.

However, infectious disease specialists said there was no proven fact about the correlation between immunity and viral infection.

No health authorities have authorized a preventive medicine or a treatment against COVID-19.

In Korea, doctors use symptomatic treatments to patients with mild symptoms, and an HIV combination drug Kaletra to severe patients.

“Such promotions are fear-based marketing that misleads the public, who are already anxious about the virus spread,” said Professor Kim Woo-ju of Korea University Guro Hospital’s Infectious Disease Department. “In a situation where the government raised the alert level to the highest, believing in misinformation could put people in deeper trouble.”

Professor Lee Jae-gap at Kangnam Hallym University Medical Center said whether a person gets a viral infection was a matter of whether the person has the antibody or not. “There is no evidence that particular medicine or food can help recovery. People should not trust unverified rumors,” he said.


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