The United States Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has on Thursday, August 14, 2014 raised alarm about some drugs being peddled online claiming to treat or prevent the Ebola virus.
The warning came after Nigeria’s minister of health, Onyebuchi Chukwu announced that 8 Ebola patients in Lagos were to be given another experimental drug, “Nanosilver’ reportedly produced by a Nigerian in diaspora.
Silver has been used as an antibacterial for centuries. Tiny silver particles known as nano-silver have controversially been incorporated into a variety of consumer products such as socks and bedding to help block odors caused by bacteria and mold.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers nano-silver a pesticide. Manufacturers of products that contain it must register them with the agency.
Nano-silver is also sometimes sold online as a dietary supplement even though Danish researchers found in a recent study that nano-silver can penetrate and damage cells.
The FDA regulates dietary supplements and said in its statement that “by law, dietary supplements cannot claim to prevent or cure disease.”
The agency said it had received consumer complaints about the Ebola claims.
“Individuals promoting these unapproved and fraudulent products must take immediate action to correct or remove these claims or face potential FDA action,” the agency said.
The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa has claimed 1,069 lives so far. Most have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nigeria has confirmed 10 cases of the disease and four deaths.