A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) administers a Covid-19 coronavirus nasal swab during a round of testing of workers outside a market in Bangkok on September 4, 2021. ( AFP / JACK TAYLOR)

Consuming antibiotics cannot treat Covid-19

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A video of a man claiming that the antibiotic amoxicillin is an effective treatment for Covid-19 has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube. The claim is false, according to health experts, who warned that misusing antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacterial infections. International health bodies have also stated that antibiotics do not work against Covid-19. 

This video was posted here on YouTube on September 24, 2021.

It was viewed more than 167,000 times before it was deleted. It was titled: "Sae-Vee method".

The man speaking in the video claims that the "Sae-Vee method" can help patients recover from Covid-19.

At the video's two-minute 45-second mark, he demonstrates the purported treatment.

He claims that the method works within hours and also immunises people against future Covid-19 infections.

Screenshot of the misleading YouTube video, taken on September 28, 2021.

At the video's 21-second mark, the man speaking is identified as "Mr. Ratchart Sae-Vee (half Thai-Malaysian)". The text in the post claims he is a first-class honours student from Mahidol University's medical science bachelor programme.

The same video has been shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here and here.

However, the claim is false.

According to this article by the United Kingdom's National Health Service, amoxicillin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states antibiotics do not work on viruses.

Health experts told AFP that amoxicillin has not been proven as an effective medicine for treating Covid-19.

"This claim is not valid," Dr Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, told AFP.

"Amoxicillin is an antibiotic drug, which is designed for use against bacteria," Dr Thira said. "It has not been proven to be effective against a viral infection".

Regarding the method explained in the video clip, Dr Thira added: "Mixing [amoxicillin] with water does not necessarily help the body to absorb it better".

Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, the head of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University, also said that antibiotics are ineffective in treating Covid-19.

He told AFP: "This claim can be dismissed as false".

"There is also an indirect risk of creating a drug-resistant bacteria from the misuse of this medicine," Dr Thiravat added.

Thailand has recorded a total of 1,637,432 Covid-19 infections and 17,014 deaths, according to an AFP tally on October 4, 2021.

The country's Food and Drug Administration issued a statement on September 28, 2021, warning the public not to share or use the methods suggested in the misleading post.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also explained that antibiotics cannot be used to prevent or treat Covid-19. However, the WHO notes that those hospitalised with Covid-19 may receive antibiotics as the disease can cause other bacterial infections.

AFP previously debunked claims that certain drugs including antibiotics could combat Covid-19 here and here.