KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture plans mass production of an anti-coronavirus product line that it claims has anti-coronavirus fighting properties.
The products are eucalyptus-based and include an anti-coronavirus necklace which the ministry said can ward off the infectious Covid-19 virus.
Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo said that the breakthrough has proven to be 80 to 100 percent effective in killing the influenza virus, betacoronavirus, and the gammacoronavirus.
Its eucalyptus-based product line has inhalers, roll-ons, creams, ointments, and diffusers.
The agriculture ministry said it is eyeing to market its eucalyptus-based products to Covid-19 positive patients.
“God willing, this will work. There is no need to be fearful of this virus, but we have to be alert. I hope this innovation can be swiftly distributed to the general public,” said Syahrul.
Since the announcement was made public, the anti-coronavirus product line has been the subject of debate while the ministry has drawn flak for it.
Social media users were quick to criticize the government’s latest step. Many questioned the use of the product range amid ongoing efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and medication.
An epidemiologist at Griffith University, Dicky Budiman, said that there is no link between an anti-viral necklace and the spread of the coronavirus.
“I don’t see any strong relevance between a necklace and the spread of the virus to eyes, mouth, and nose,” said Dicky on July 4.
Dicky reiterated that the Covid-19 virus is transmitted in aerosol or droplet forms which are then inhaled through the nose or by touching the eyes and mouth.
Although eucalyptus is known to have anti-virus fighting components, it is most effective in the form of a spray or filter.
The virus that eucalyptus can help ward off are common viruses, not the Covid-19 virus, according to Dicky.
As such, Dicky finds that the production of eucalyptus products as a Covid-19 response is a forced measure and breeds the potential of misperception.
“It hasn’t been proven scientifically nor has there been any research publication on its potential to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus in scientific journals,” Dicky said.
Several Asian and European countries have forbidden anti-viral products from Japan.
Aside from lacking scientific evidence, the necklace is deemed to give a false sense of security in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
Dicky stresses the importance for all stakeholders to understand the proper principles of how the Covid-19 is transmitted.
He also emphasized the need for the Indonesian government to stick to a Covid-19 response that has been proven scientifically and by facts such as testing, tracing, and isolation.
(Writer: Ahmad Naufal Dzulfaroh | Editor: Inggried Dwi Wedhaswary)