FALSE: 'Clean semen a cure for COVID-19'

Claim: Clean semen is a cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

YouTube channel Dr Anacleto Belleza Millendez posted a video on April 21 titled, “Malinis na Tamod ay Gamot sa COVID-19. – Dr. Anacleto Belleza Millendez, Ang Doktor ng Bayan (Clean semen is a cure for COVID-19. – Dr. Anacleto Belleza Millendez, the Doctor of the People)”

The video runs for 3 minutes and 22 seconds and has Millendez talking about using clean sperm as a cure for COVID-19. He advises drinking clean semen or using it as a hand sanitizer.

Puwede itong inumin, siguraduhin lang ay malinis – walang halong mikrobyo, walang sexually transmitted disease, walang HIV. ‘Pag ang isang tamod na malinis ay ininom ng isang tao, maiiwasan na siya ay magkaroon ng coronavirus infection,” Millendez said in the video.

(A person can drink the semen, just make sure that it is clean – no microbes, no sexually transmitted disease, no HIV. If a person drinks clean semen, he/she can prevent having coronavirus infection.)

In the video’s description, Millendez includes a summary of a scientific study and cites the “National Library of Medicine.”

As of writing, the video has had 118,672 views on YouTube. Facebook’s monitoring tool Claim Check flagged the video for verification. It has been reported at least 35 times for containing false content.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: To date, there is still no authorized or official cure for COVID-19. The study cited by Millendez in the description of his video also did not mention COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its frequently asked questions page that some specific treatments are under investigation and are undergoing clinical trials, but medicines that can prevent or cure COVID-19 have yet to be authorized.

“WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19,” it added.

There have been studies that have said sperm contains antibacterial properties, but it is not considered a cure for COVID-19 to date.

Moreover, the study cited by Millendez does not support his claim that semen can be used to cure COVID-19. That study by scientists of the Pasteur Institute in France was published in 2016 – way before the novel coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

Instead, the scientists studied how spermine and spermidine, which are both present in human semen, can affect Zika and Chikungunya viruses in human bodies. The study is available here.

Zika and Chikungunya are not coronavirus strains but are transmitted through mosquitoes. Both WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is insufficient evidence to suggest that the novel coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes. 

Taiwan Fact Check Center, another organization that is part of the CoronaVirus Fact Check Alliance, also debunked a similar claim regarding use of semen to suppress coronavirus. 

To prevent COVID-19 infection, WHO and the Department of Health still both suggest frequent handwashing and physical distancing.

Millendez is the founder of The Beautiful Heart Foundation, a charity organization that conducts medical missions and other outreach programs. In the video description, he also linked a Facebook page where he offers anti-aging facial treatments using products made of sperm.

As of Tuesday, May 5, the Philippines recorded 9,684 cases, 637 deaths, and 1,408 recoveries. The government announced that it is ready to participate in the clinical trial for anti-flu drug Avigan. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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