Putrajaya scoffs at ‘anti-viral health tag’, explains has no benefit at all

Ben Tan
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya March 30, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has downplayed a “health tag” that is sold for around RM60 each, with bogus claims that it has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can curb Covid-19 infections.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today that the public should instead refer to the ministry amid the deluge of products and substances that are being peddled as cures to the pandemic.

“There are lots of products in the market. What is important is that to refer to the Ministry of Health.

“If there are any issues, the ministry will advise following facts,” he told a press conference here.

This comes as MOH’s National Poison Centre also discredited the claim, saying the chlorine dioxide gas that is purportedly emitted by the tag is hardly noticeable.

Citing a study in the Japanese Journal of Environmental Infections, it said the gas trace has no effect in killing neither bacteria nor virus.

“The finding shows that wearing such ‘health tags’ is not effective in preventing existing bacteria or viruses, let alone the Covid-19 virus,” it said in a Facebook post.

It also pointed out that chlorine dioxide is a gas that can cause inflammation to the respiratory tract.

“What is worrying is the users’ trust in this product, which will cause them to feel safe and protected from the infection,” it said, adding that this will subsequently lead to them to be less cautious and do not abide by hygienic practises such as washing their hands.

The “health tag”, which among others is marketed as “Antah Wellness Defend Healthtag” or “Virus Shut Out”, are sold even local pharmacy such as Watsons, and online marketplace such as Lazada and Shoppee.

Several social media posts have also alleged that the country’s top leaders are among its users, and have been pictured in public wearing them.

Dr Noor Hisham has consistently reminded the public over the need to trust scientifically-proven methods, rather than purported cures such as the “singgang” dish and drinking warm water.

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