Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, different companies and people are coming up with claims of several devices and medicines that can stop the virus or can protect a particular person from catching the virus. One such Japanese product, the ‘Virus Shut Out’ is doing the rounds of the market claiming that it can protect the user from getting infected. It is basically a cord worn around the neck attached with a small packet of Chlorine Dioxide, which is a chemical used to disinfect drinking water. This device is easily available in the market and online shops and is popular in India among the people of the Northeastern states, Delhi, Uttarakhand, etc.
Although the device claims to be suitable for everyone, especially people with low immunity, kids, elderly, and those exposed to hospitals, scientists all over the world have denied this claim. In fact, according to the report published by the Northeast Today, the Health Department of Manipur has advised people in the state to stop wearing or using chlorine dioxide releasing cards as a prevention of the coronavirus because chlorine dioxide is not safe to inhale.
What’s ‘Virus Shut Out’?
Virus Shut Out is a badge type device worn around the neck easily available on Amazon or even local shops for Rs 120. The Card’s validity is for 30 days. It claims that it is safe for everyone and kills 99.9% virus and bacteria including the coronavirus and purifies the air around the user. It looks like a Badge or ID-Card worn around the neck only with a packet of chlorine dioxide attached to the end of it.
Chlorine dioxide is not a naturally occurring chemical which means that it is prepared artificially and is potentially very harmful to human beings. If inhaled directly it can cause nose, throat, and lung infections. If chlorine dioxide interacts with water it creates chlorine salts, which if ingested in large amounts, might irritate the mouth, esophagus, or stomach.
The Authenticity of the ‘Virus Shut Out’
The claims of this Japan-made product, to protect the user from getting Coronavirus has been denied by almost all doctors, scientists, and health agencies around the world. In fact, due to its potential threat to health, it has been banned in several countries like the US, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.
In an interview given to the Times of India, the head of the microbiology department at SGPGI, Dr. TN Dhole denied all the claims of Virus Shut Out to prevent Coronavirus. He instead questions the mechanism by asking how one can expect this card to block coronavirus which spreads from person to person when a patient infected by the coronavirus coughs or exhales. He pointed out that chlorine dioxide causes adverse effects on the human body like watery eyes, skin irritation, and coughing.
The president of IMA Lucknow, Dr. Rama Srivastava stated that there is no substitute to masks and any unauthorized anti-COVID card is incapable of stopping the spread of coronavirus.
With the increase in the use of Virus Shut Out by the general public the government and police have been warning people about its use. In an interview given to News 18, the DM of Dehradun, Aayush Srivastava has requested to avoid using such devices which are not authorized by the ICMR or the Health Ministry. Srivastava says that the only effective way to prevent the coronavirus infection is to follow social distancing, use face masks, and avoid going outside when it’s not necessary.
Health institutions and governments all over the world have been warning and requesting the general public to follow the WHO’s corona prevention guidelines. Amidst a global pandemic and so much chaos this Virus Shut Out device is cashing on the fears of the people and is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.