Is Palm Oil Being Used to Treat COVID-19 Patients?

A social media post claims that palm oil is used to treat COVID-19 patients.

The post comes with a photo of Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu with a headline text “Palm oil is used to treat COVID-19 patients? Ghana should say goodbye to Corona,” making it appear as though it is from an official source.

It has so far received dozens of comments with some asking about the dosage.

Fact-checkghana.com finds this claim to be false.

Explanation: Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the world, there have been many claims of cures and supposed treatment methods of the disease in humans.

Some of these claims have already been found to be misleading or false in reports done by Fact-check Ghana.

 To look into this new claim of palm oil being used as cure, we conducted a web search and social media search to identify the primary source of the information.

We found the source to be a publication on Opera newshub on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

In the publication, which has been shared in other Facebook groups, there is no mention or reference to Ghana’s Health Minister as the subject or source of the claim, making it curious and fuels suggestions that the photo was used to mislead people into reading the article.

The attempt by the publication to state a basis for the claim is found in its last but two paragraphs where it said “the red color of palm oil indicates that palm oil contains enough carotenoids; which is a very potent antioxidant and helps to improve the immune system.”

“It is without doubt that consuming palm oil has the potency to help our bodies to fight against COVID-19; since experts have made it clear that a strong and a vibrant immune system is able to fight against the virus.”

According to a scholarly paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is true that carotenoids are potent antioxidants. However, it did not say if that was a concrete proof that it can boost the immune system to fight COVID-19.

The drug mentioned publicly as a treatment component being used by the government of Ghana in treating COVID-19 was announced by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, in April 2020.

The Minister at a press conference said he had given authorisation to importers to bring in hydroxychloroquine to help treat novel coronavirus cases in Ghana.

Also, the Ghana Health Service website, in stating the country’s COVID-19 treatment regime said “there is no specific treatment. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own.”

That web page was updated on July 12, 2020.

It adds, “Doctors can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication. A room humidifier or a hot shower can help with a sore throat or cough.”

From the above it is clear that there is no indication of palm oil being a potent cure for COVID-19, neither is Ghana using it as a treatment of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The claim is therefore false.

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Supported by STAR Ghana Foundation with funding from UKAID and the European Union

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