FALSE: Aspirin with lemon juice and honey cures coronavirus

Claim: Aspirin dissolved in lemon juice boiled with honey can be a home remedy for the coronavirus.

A message allegedly sourced from a Viber group chat linked to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Medicine and Surgery was posted several times on Facebook, making multiple claims about the coronavirus. Another variation attributed the advice to a Dr Alexis Reyes of the Makati Medical Center (MMC).

The text claimed that a "major diagnostic error" showed that thrombosis, not pneumonia, was the cause of mortality for coronavirus patients.

The message also included a paragraph claiming that a Mexican family in the United States was cured by a "home remedy" of three 500-gram (sic) aspirin tablets dissolved in lemon juice boiled with honey. 

"He has filmed a video of a Mexican family in the United States that affirmed that they were cured with a home remedy: Three 500 gr aspirins dissolved in lemon juice boiled with honey, it is taken hot and the next day, as if nothing had happened to them!" the text said. The "he" referred to in the text was unclear.

Posts containing this claim were flagged by Facebook Claim Check, a tool that monitors posts with potentially false information.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There are no specific vaccines, medicines, or treatments for COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Reyes and the MMC denied releasing the message.

"We have not released an official MakatiMed advisory regarding this," MMC communications and publicity officer MJ Fernandez told Rappler. 

Reyes, who is a consultant of the hospital, also told Rappler that she did not post this message. Rappler also reached out to the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery to ask if they shared this message but has not received a response as of writing. 

WHO said that to date, specific drug treatments are still under investigation and are being tested through clinical trials.

"While some home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19," WHO Philippines said in response to the claim.

A scientific brief from WHO said: "At present there is no evidence of severe adverse events, acute health care utilization, long-term survival, or quality of life in patients with COVID-19, as a result of the use of NSAIDs [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs]." NSAIDs include aspirin.

In the past, Rappler also debunked other false cures for COVID-19, such as cannabis, hot water with salt, alkaline food, lemon with baking soda and hot water, and ginger ale. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

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