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FDA warns of scammers selling products claiming to treat coronavirus

Houston doctors say there is no scientific evidence that supports teas, essential oils, tinctures or colloidal silver can treat or cure COVID-19.

HOUSTON — The FDA is warning of several companies selling fraudulent products that claimed to treat or prevent coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products.

These products are unapproved drugs that pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law, according to the FDA.

Some of the products the FDA warned about include teas, essential oils, tinctures or colloidal silver.

"The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. "We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable."

The simple truth is at this point, there is no vaccine or treatment to prevent or cure COVID-19.

Many of those companies did post disclaimers about their products or removed the content completely, but not before rumors started spreading that the products could prevent or treat SARS CoV-2, or coronavirus.

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"It's frustrating," said Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious disease at Baylor College of Medicine. "It gives (consumers) false hope that these medications or interventions are going to help prevent the spread of the infection.”

Weatherhead said other treatments, including Zinc and Vitamin C, have not been proven to prevent incidence or less duration of symptoms of novel coronavirus.

"These remedies have not been scientifically proven to reduce the incidence or duration of symptoms for this SARS CoV-2 virus that we’re seeing," Dr. Weatherhead said.

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She stressed strict hygiene, including handwashing, covering coughs, not touching your face and avoiding contact with sick people.

Doctors are stressing that anyone with symptoms should call their doctor or the ER before they arrive so that health care providers can keep everyone safe and healthy.