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Coronavirus : Hot beverages and rising body temperature are useless

In a video shared online, Moroccan Mohamed Faid urged people to eat food that would increase their body temperature to boost their immune system amid the global outbreak. However, the «unfounded» pieces of advice have not been proven to protect against the virus.

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Mohamed Faid. / DR

At a time when the whole world is trying to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus and curb the number of infected patients, Moroccan celebrity and pseudo doctor Mohamed Faid took to his YouTube channel to «advise» Moroccans amid the outbreak.

In a video titled «Coronavirus : Eat Foods That Raise Body Temperature», posted on March 6 and viewed 2 million times, the former researcher at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute (IAV), urged viewers to eat foods that increase body temperature, sharing a «tip» that has been debunked by several specialists worldwide.

Mohamed Faid's list for «increasing body temperature»

Mohamed Faid started his video by criticizing «those who try to politicize information and others who terrify people». «The media are helpless and do not deal with important information because they run after trivialities. They cannot process scientific, specialized and technological information and unfortunately, the average citizen gets lost», he claimed.

Faid urged his subscribers and followers to «boycott processed food, eat organic and wear face masks», although the effectiveness of this last advice has been denied by health authorities especially when it comes to people who are not infected.

Furthermore, Faid said in his video that people should follow his «nutrition program to boost their immune systems» during these days, referring to «foods that increase body temperature». «All kind of spices», he said, mentioning «ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg».  

Meanwhile, he warned against mixing spices and recommended «spicy food» instead. The list also includes «grains» and other «pulses, vegetables, fruits, oils and seafood» that «contribute to increase body temperature».

In his video, he also referred to foods that people should avoid such as «manufactured oils, canned products, sausages, soft drinks, cookies, chocolate and chewing gum» that he said would destroy immunity.

On the coronavirus and contrary to the title of the video, Mohamed Faid is more cautious. He told his followers to «avoid catching a cold» and to «cover their heads». «This virus does not like things that increase the temperature of the human body», he claimed.

Household remedies that do not apply to coronavirus

Several tips that appeared over the internet, such as drinking hot beverages to fight the coronavirus, are actually «unfounded», wrote on March 10 the newspaper Le Monde, citing Anne Goffard, virologist at the University Hospital Center (CHU) of Lille and teacher at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Lille.

Swallowing hot drinks «is useless», she said. In addition, although «some viruses are sensitive to humidity and certain temperature levels», details about SARS-CoV-2 are still limited at this stage, she added.

Le Monde also quotes the executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Michael Ryan, who said that scientists do not know «today what is the activity and behavior of this virus in different climatic conditions».

In its CheckNews section, the newspaper Liberation also addressed this subject on March 10, recalling that researchers have documented the heat resistance of Sars coronavirus (Sars-CoV) since 2003.

The newspaper also cites a study published in the National Library of Medicine, in the United States, according to which the CoV-P9 virus, a type of coronavirus, remains stable between 4 and 37 degrees Celsius, although it «loses its infectious capacity at from an exposure of ninety minutes at 56 degrees».

According to Gilles Pialoux, head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at Tenon hospital in Paris, this does not mean that drinking hot tea will have any beneficial effect or protect from the coronavirus. «Drinking tea does not make sense. Since that would require raising the overall body temperature to 65 degrees for ten minutes...», he said.

In addition, if fever is one of the symptoms of Covid-19, doctors do not recommend increasing your body temperature by eating certain foods.

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