[COVIDWatch]: Does drinking Martell Cordon Bleu give you a negative ART result?

By April 4, 2022 COVID-19, Health, Satire

We came across this viral social media post:

Below is the video in full, in case you are unable to view it on Facebook:

In the 26-second long video, we hear an individual speaking in Mandarin and comparing two ARTs – one with double lines (indicating that an individual is COVID-positive), and the other with just one line (indicating that an individual is COVID-negative). While not specified, the ARTs look like those from SD Biosensor which use nasal samples from an individual.

Below is a rough translation of what he said in the context of the video:

“I listened to what you said that day and drank Tiger (beer), but the ART still shows the double line. Then I listened to what you said yesterday and drank Cordon Bleu. Wow, it was really effective! After drinking Cordon Bleu, it was gone! Wow, it’s true, I just tested.”

It is uncertain if the individual was referring to the virus being “gone” (i.e. Martell Cordon Bleu being a cure for COVID-19) or that the second line on the ART was not appearing, which could suggest that alcohol could have affected the ART’s results.

The caption on the post translates to: “Hahaha cordon blue (sic) is good stuff. Come, buy some with me.”

At time of writing, the post has been shared over 14,000 times.

Is Martell Cordon Bleu the cure for COVID?

Given the tone of the video, the caption, and how the majority of Facebook reactions and comments have reacted to it (more than half reacted with the ‘laugh’ emoji), it’s rather obvious that the person who made the video was doing it as a joke.

The claim that alcohol is a cure for COVID-19 also brings us back to the early days of the pandemic, when bogus claims like drinking garlic water and keeping one’s throat moist are ‘surefire’ ways to avoid contracting the virus.

In a factsheet published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020, myths about alcohol and COVID-19 were debunked:

As seen, it was stated that consuming alcohol won’t destroy the virus and might even increase the health risks if a person gets infected with COVID-19.

According to Dr Hanan Balkhy, a WHO adviser and paediatric infectious disease specialist, some people might have gotten that idea because sanitising one’s hands with hydroalcoholic gel is recommended as a protection against the virus. However, she said that “The virus is not sensitive to the alcohol we drink. [In addition,] the alcohol in the hydroalcoholic gel is much more concentrated, and this is certainly not something you can drink, otherwise it will have serious side effects.”

Does drinking alcohol result in a negative ART?

As to whether or not drinking alcohol affects ART results, we came across a study in which researchers tested various soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, including sparkling water, directly on the Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag Lateral Flow Test Cassette to determine whether they could produce positive test results.

Through this experiment, they found that without the buffer, all the drinks they used caused the appearance of a red test line:

However, when equal volumes of the buffer and the respective beverages are mixed, no false-positive test lines were produced:

They suggested that this phenomenon could possibly be because of the altered pH in the solutions, which “could modulate the function of the antibodies coated in the test line”, and while “deceitful methods may easily lead to misuse of COVID-19 antigen rapid tests and result in false-positive results […] this does not prove that these tests are unreliable when performed correctly”.

According to the Australian Department of Health, individuals should not eat, drink, smoke, brush their teeth or chew gum for 10–30 minutes before collecting saliva for a home use test as it may produce an incorrect result. However, it is important to note that this precaution is only for those who use saliva samples for their tests.

Currently, the self tests that have been approved for use in Singapore are those that use nasal samples from individuals. In addition, a factsheet by the Singapore Ministry of Health, only states that those who have had 1. a nosebleed in the past 24 hours; 2. nasal surgery in the last 4 weeks; 3. facial injury in the last 8 weeks should avoid self-administering their ARTs. No other precautions have been stated.

In conclusion, we rate this Facebook video as satire, given its tone and the public’s reactions to it.

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