FDA warns against 'anti-virus' lanyard, says no evidence of effectivity

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2020 04:07 PM | Updated as of May 15 2020 09:06 AM

Photo from United States Environmental Protection Agency website

MANILA — The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said Filipinos should be wary of products claiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Among them is the product called Virus Shut Out, which is supposedly a lanyard with sodium hypochlorite, a compound that has been used to disinfect water.

“These are not registered with FDA and there is no evidence to show that they can prevent COVID-19,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo told ABS-CBN News.

“People should not rely on them to prevent infection,” he added. 

People who sell unregistered products face penalties under the Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act.

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ABS-CBN News received unverified reports that the product is being used by health workers in a hospital in Manila, as well as some government officials.

The product is being sold online through shopping apps and social media. Despite having no FDA approval, a pack of Virus Shut Out is sold for a few hundred pesos on two of the country’s largest shopping apps. Based on the ratings and reviews, hundreds of Filipinos have already bought and used the item.

The FDA gave the warning after the United States’ crackdown on the said brand and other bogus products being marketed to people who seek protection against the virus.

CNN reported that US custom officials have already seized thousands of the unregistered lanyards, as well as tablets and herbal medicines.

The Virus Shut Out product is supposedly made in Japan, according to its packaging. A Hong Kong Free Press article said the product has already been banned around Asia although it is still available in Hong Kong stores as of March “despite dubious claims.”