Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been stocking up on Vitamin C as they seek to boost immunity. While Vitamin C is a common remedy to cure the common cold and flu, there is no evidence to support the use of oral vitamin C supplements as prevention against the novel coronavirus. We asked experts to comment on claims that Vitamin C could protect you from catching COVID-19.
Associate Prof. Dr. Chan Yoke Fun, Virologist & Senior Lecturer at the Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, said:
“It is usually used for the common cold. It helps us maintain good immune function, however, there’s little evidence that it can prevent or substantially reduce the disease. Since COVID-19 also affects the respiratory system, it is unlikely that taking vitamin C will prevent or cure COVID-19.”
Dr Vinod RMT Balasubramaniam, Microbiologist & Senior Lecturer at Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, said:
“This is a myth which is currently going on around the people. Vitamins C is important in general health well-being, however, it has no role or efficacy in “boosting” the immune system nor stopping people from catching the COVID-19. This is an infectious disease caused by the pathogen SARS CoV-2. The virus has animal intermediate such as bats and pangolins which can transmit the virus hence cause the disease.”
|Disclaimer: These comments were complied to provide journalists with a range of expert perspectives on the subject. The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the experts. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Science Media Centre or any other organisation unless specifically stated.|
Bionotes of experts
Associate Prof. Dr. Chan Yoke Fun is a virologist focused on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of enterovirus A71, an emerging virus that causes severe neurological disease. She leads a laboratory with research interests in epidemiology and pathogenesis of emerging viruses such as enterovirus A71, chikungunya, and respiratory viruses. Dr. Chan also served as an Associate Editor of BMC Infectious Diseases and guest editor in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. She has multiple joint publications with collaborators from Asia, Europe, and the USA. With more than 20 years of research experience, she has over 80 publications, her studies have led to a better understanding of how viruses spread and infect humans.
Dr Vinod RMT Balasubramaniam graduated from Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) majoring in Biotechnology in 2007. During this period, he managed to publish several papers on plant genetic engineering, especially on genetically engineered orchids which have resistance towards fungus. In 2008, he worked as a research assistant with Associate Professor Sharifah Syed Hassan in her newly formed infectious disease laboratory in Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. He embarked on his PhD course working on the various host cellular genes infected with Avian Influenza Virus H5N1 and their protein-protein interactions with viral genes. Graduated with merit in 2014, he continued to work as a post-doctoral fellow before joining Professor Adolfo Garcia-Sastre’s laboratory in Mount Sinai hospital New York, which is one of the leading Influenza research laboratory in the world. He has co-authored various publications (Cell Host Microbe, Nature Microbiology, Plos Pathogens) on various aspects of host response towards different types of viruses.
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