Over 700 people have been killed of methanol poisoning in Iran after believing that methanol alcohol cures the coronavirus, AP News reports.
“People think that alcohol causes immunity to [coronavirus], while drinking alcohol does not eliminate corona in the body,” a medical expert recently told the government-aligned Tasnim News Agency, ABC reports. Alcohol consumption is one of the many false remedies for coronavirus circulating on social media.
The Iranian health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said that 5,011 people have been poisoned from methanol alcohol, AP News reports. Of that number, around 90 people have lost their eyesight or suffered eye damange from the alcohol poisoning.
Currently, Iran has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East with over 5,000 deaths and 91,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Methanol alcohol can’t be detected in drinks by taste nor smell. Side effects of ingestion include organ and brain damage and symptoms of poisoning include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, vision loss and comatose states. The government in Iran requires methanol manufacturers to add an artificial color in order for consumers to tell it apart from ethanol alcohol.
Ethanol alcohol is commonly used for cleaning wounds and found in alcoholic beverages, although the latter’s production is banned in Iran.
AP News is reporting that the national coroner’s authority said that alcohol poisoning killed 728 Iranians between February 20 and April 7. The reported number is a drastic increase from the year before, where 66 deaths were reported.