You have sent us a video through WhatsApp whose protagonist is a woman who self-identifies as Maria José Martínez Albarracín, who claims to have been a member of “Doctors for truth”, an organisation that, among other things, denies that there is currently a pandemic in Spain. In the document she claims that there exists “sufficient scientific basis” to be able to treat covid-19 with chlorine dioxide. To justify her claim, she cites an alleged patent registered by NASA in 1988 that “recommends the chlorine dioxide for the treatment of all types of bacteria and even for the blood preservation”. This is FALSE. NASA has never registered a patent for this product which, as we have already explained, does not treat covid-19 and is harmful to health if ingested in certain quantities.
"There is a patent from NASA, from 1988, where [the space agency] precisely recommends chlorine dioxide to treat all types of bacteria, and even for the preservation of blood. It is also used for water purification, is completely safe and has sufficient scientific basis to be able to treat covid with a high probability of success and without adverse effects"
The document Albarracín refers to in the video is a report published in the Spinoff magazine, a publication in which they talk about technologies that have been initially developed by NASA but that also find alternative uses in other areas beyond aerospace. Under the title A Universal Antidote, the space agency reviews the virtues of Ren New Air Conditioning Disinfectant, a product of the now defunct Alcide brand (now owned by Ecolab). This product, an air conditioning disinfectant with chlorine dioxide as one of its components, had the potential to be used in a number of industries, from automotive to medical to agriculture, although there was no mention of ingesting it.
NASA does not defend sodium chlorite as a pharmacological treatment, but indicates that, in 1988, research was being conducted to determine whether Alcide's formulation could "alter the course of lung disease" and whether this technology might also have potential for "various medical applications such as the treatment of acne, herpes and cystic fibrosis". In principle, it says the compound kills bacteria, viruses and fungi and is non-toxic to humans, plants or animals, if used to clean the air conditioning ducts of, for example, a car.
The Alcide patent, registered on 25 October 1988 in the US registry, was not presented by NASA. "Alcide is not, strictly speaking, a derivative of an aerospace technology," the report explains (page 118), but the products and the company that manufactures them are beneficiaries of one of the nine industrial applications centres that the space agency had at that time.
Chlorine dioxide is harmful to health
We are talking about an article that was published in 1988 and that, although it may have an infinite number of applications (hence the title of the report, A Universal Antidote), to date it has not been proven to be beneficial in any way in the treatment of infections.
Generally, chlorine dioxide is used "as a bleaching agent in plants that manufacture paper, and in public water treatment plants to make water safe to drink", so it is commonly mixed with water. From this mixture comes ionic chlorite, which "is also a very reactive compound", according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If ingested in high amounts (plus 0.8 milligrams of chlorine dioxide per litre of water, according to the agency) it can "irritate the nose, eyes, throat and lungs", they warn.
It is not the first time that Verificat has denied the alleged efficacy of this compound for the treatment of covid-19, and several regulatory agencies and the international organisations advise against its use as it is considered potentially toxic.
The organisation “Doctors for the truth” has been reprimanded by the Spanish Medical Association for repeated misinformation throughout the pandemic. Members of the International Fact Checking Network, like Verificat, have published numerous denials of their statements.
This video by Albarracín has its origin in a document that has been circulating for months and its content had already been denied by various verification agencies such as Chequeado, Newtral or Colombiacheck.
We are a team of young journalists from Barcelona who work independently to combat misinformation in our territory and beyond. We rely on facts and data to verify what politicians say and the falsehoods circulating on social media.
We need you. With your contribution, you will contribute to a healthier political debate and help promote educational projects to teach citizens how to navigate information chaos and defend themselves against misinformation.
You can contribute as much as one euro and it won't take you more than 45 seconds (we've counted them). If you can, please mark your contribution as monthly and so we can continue to do our job rigorously and independently. Thank you so much.Donate