China's whistleblower Dr Wenliang who first spoke about coronavirus and was punished by the Chinese government, had documented tea as cure for coronavirus, says the latest set of messages on social media including Facebook and WhatsApp. But here is the truth. Dr Wenliang died of coronavirus on February 7, 2020.
If fighting coronavirus literally is the biggest challenge the world is facing, fighting fake news is another important task as it creates panic and makes real efforts of fighting the disease go in vain. The latest fake news following the one which stated China making people gargle with salt water to keep coronavirus in check, is said that before breathing his last, Dr Wenliang had kept a documented case files that stated that tea was a cure for coronavirus.
Reports also claim that chemical compounds including methylxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline that can help cure coronavirus. Messages claim that these elements are present in tea and China is already serving the component to infected patients in hospitals. The tea plants create these chemicals as a way to ward off insects and other animals, the message and post claims. A Facebook user Maria Celia Junio-fernadez shared the post and even asked if her habit of drinking tea will make her immune to coronavirus.
The same message was also published in a news report on the website The Shivalik.com. "Tea can be cure to Corona Virus," stated the headline. But experts opine that there is no study that can prove tea as the cure for coronavirus.
On the other hand, scientific papers state that Theobromine was found to be in high quantity in black teas. Theobromine was not found in any herbal tea samples, and Theophylline was not found in any tea tested. Studies also suggest that Theophylline was found to be more toxic than caffeine or theobromine affecting heart, bronchi and kidneys.
A report stating that coronavirus was developed by China as a bioweapon and the US was interested in buying it, but was leaked accidentally by China is making rounds. The report published in "The UFO Spotlight On...," the wordpress page was shared multiple times by the people. But Snopes.com busted the news that it was fake. Originally the story was published on r/NoSleep, in a section of Reddit that is dedicated to scary fiction stories.
In fact the The UFO Spotlight On... story did back-link it to the original author in r/NoSleep. But people missed out on this detail and started sharing it especially on social media platforms including WhatsApp. So here is how a story written for a scary fiction story started circulating as a real one and people without checking it properly helped spread fake news.