Can certain substances prevent COVID-19?


Chelsea Chang

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some have turned to essential oils and other products to combat COVID-19.

Belief: Certain substances such as hydroxychloroquine and essential oils have been authorized to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Reality: Currently, there are no medicines or vaccines for COVID-19 that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA approval is defined as the FDA determining “that the benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use.” This means that any product claiming to prevent, cure, or alleviate COVID-19 symptoms has not been validated by the FDA.

The FDA expressed concern that misleading information about such products may prevent appropriate medical treatment from working. The ingredients in these products could interact poorly with essential medication according to the FDA in a consumer update.

Some of these products involve essential oils and hydroxychloroquine.

In March, President Trump tweeted his support for hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), hydroxychloroquine has not been proven to reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths among hospitalized patients.

Additionally, the FDA has warned companies against promoting substances that allegedly cure or prevent COVID-19.

In one warning to Quinessence Aromatherapy, an essential oil manufacturer, the FDA said, “FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or use certain products that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by FDA and that are being misleadingly represented as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

The FDA’s up-to-date list of companies that have violated its rules regarding COVID-19 products can be found here.