Cochabamba, July 18
Long traces kind each morning in one of many Bolivian cities hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic as determined individuals wait to purchase small bottles of chlorine dioxide, a poisonous bleaching agent that has been falsely touted as a remedy for COVID-19 and myriad different ailments.
The rush within the metropolis of Cochabamba to purchase a disinfectant recognized to trigger hurt to those that ingest it comes even after the Bolivian Health Ministry warned of its risks and mentioned at the least 5 individuals have been poisoned after taking chlorine dioxide in La Paz, the capital.
Dr. Antonio Viruez, who’s treating the 5 at a hospital, mentioned one incorrectly believed he had COVID-19 and developed pneumonitis, an irritation of lung tissue, after taking chlorine dioxide and a drugs used to deal with parasite infestations. The different sufferers are enhancing, he mentioned.
“The Health Ministry cannot risk recommending something that doesn’t have a scientific basis,” mentioned Miguel Ángel Delgado, a senior ministry official.
However, Bolivia’s Opposition-controlled congress is selling using chlorine dioxide.
Last week, the Senate accredited a Bill authorising the emergency “manufacture, marketing, supply and use of chlorine dioxide solution for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus.”
The Bill would require the approval of interim President Jeanine Áñez, who’s in quarantine after testing optimistic for the brand new coronavirus. She has sparred with opposition lawmakers loyal to Evo Morales, the previous chief who was pressured to resign final 12 months after an election marred by irregularities.
Many fearful residents in Cochabamba, the place opposition assist is robust, are giving chlorine dioxide a strive. Cochabamba has reported about 440 deaths from COVID-19, or one-quarter of the overall variety of reported deaths in Bolivia. The actual toll is believed to be greater.
“I am afraid. I have to try it,” mentioned Andrés Poma, a 34-year-old trainer who’s skeptical that beleaguered well being companies might help him if he will get sick. “What am I going to do? Wait to die at the door of the hospital or at the door of my house?” Federico Anza, who sells chlorine dioxide at his Cochabamba retailer, mentioned 1000’s of individuals have purchased it, consuming it in drops.
“My wife and I took it and nothing happened to us,” he mentioned.
He mentioned his purchasers had not fallen ailing after taking the agent, although provincial well being authorities reported 10 circumstances of poisoning from chlorine dioxide up to now week.
The governor of Cochabamba state, Esther Soria, mentioned she helps a plan for a state regulation authorizing using chlorine dioxide and conventional medication to deal with COVID-19.
Cochabamba’s mayor, José María Leyes, mentioned he favors the free distribution of the bleaching agent to deal with sufferers.
But Fernando Rengel, president of the Cochabamba’s scientific affiliation, mentioned there are previous beliefs that the poisonous substance is “miraculous” and cures most cancers, AIDS, malaria and different ailments, “but there is no scientific study that proves that it cures any disease.”
Chlorine dioxide is one among a lot of pretend cures which were promoted, typically by fringe teams on-line, for the reason that pandemic started.
In April, a federal choose in South Florida ordered a Colombia-based group, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, to cease promoting a associated product, Miracle Mineral Solution, within the U.S. Prosecutors mentioned Genesis marketed the answer as a therapy for COVID-19, autism and different illnesses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has beforehand issued public warnings that MMS may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and extreme dehydration.
In April, U.S. President Donald Trump mused about whether or not disinfectants might be injected or ingested to struggle COVID-19, prompting intense blowback from docs and different well being officers. — AP