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Covid-19 treatments: sorting Fact from Fiction

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The emergence of the novel coronavirus caught the world off-guard and sparked apocalyptic scenes globally, leaving normally packed streets deserted and disrupting people’s personal freedoms in ways rarely seen outside of wartime. For many people, initial lockdowns were confusing but also viewed as opportunities for some respite from the frantic nature of modern life. But as infection rates grew and increasing numbers of countries were affected, the seriousness of the situation became abundantly clear.

The shock, speed and severity of the Covid-19 pandemic has placed burdens on the reliability of news and given rise to rumours, misinformation and false advertising. The urgency of the evolving pandemic has seen a race for effective vaccines, firstly through research and development and then production. But the standard timeline for successful vaccine creation runs into years and even decades, something that would not have sufficed in 2020 as the world spiralled out of normality.

Solutions were needed, and stopgaps were sought. As 2020 wore on, the internet was awash with rumours of remedies and treatments, ranging from the legitimate to the bizarre. Many of these were off-label products – medical treatments normally used to treat other illnesses – and were seen as temporary solutions to save lives while vaccines were developed. A substantial number of the touted therapies have since been disproved. With the benefit of hindsight, we have compiled a list of Covid-19 treatments which can be categorised as Fact, and those which can be consigned to Fiction.