Can methylxanthines like caffeine, theophylline and theobromine cure or prevent COVID-19?
Take a look at the evergreen claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!
Claim : Caffeine, Theophylline, Theobromine Prevents COVID-19!
This “Breaking News from CNN” is going viral on WhatsApp, claiming that Theophylline, Theobromine and Methylxanthine can cure or prevent COVID-19!
Truth : Caffeine, Theophylline, Theobrominee Cannot Cure COVID-19!
The truth is – this is an updated version of the coffee can cure and prevent COVID-19 fake news from 2020.
The fake news creator removed references to Dr. Li Wenliang and attributes the discovery to “documented casefiles for research purposes“.
Here are the facts, and reasons why this is nothing more than another example of COVID-19 fake news…
Fact #1 : There Is No Such CNN News Report
A quick check of the CNN website and Google reveals that there is no such CNN news report, claiming that caffeine, theophylline and theobromine can cure or prevent COVID-19.
There is certainly no CNN report on the Chinese using coffee to cure or prevent COVID-19 infections.
Fact #2 : Methylxanthines Are Found In Chocolate, Coffee & Tea
Methylxanthines (or methylated xanthines) are a group of chemicals which include caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. They are found not only in tea, but also chocolate and coffee.
Theophylline is predominant in tea, while theobromine is abundant in chocolate, and caffeine is the main methylxanthine in coffee.
If methylxanthines can really prevent COVID-19, why didn’t the writer suggest eating chocolate and drinking both coffee and tea for maximum effect?
Fact #3 : China Consumes More Coffee Than India
The Chinese may not drink as much coffee as they do tea, but it is really racist to say that unlike Indians, the Chinese do not know that coffee contains those compounds.
In 2019, the 1.43 billion Chinese population consumed US$8.2 BILLION worth of coffee, while the 1.37 billion Indian population consumed only US$903 MILLION worth of coffee.
In other words, the Chinese consume 8.7X more coffee per capita than the Indians. Could that suggest they are probably more aware of its health benefits?
Fact #4 : Caffeine, Theophylline, Theobromine Cannot Cure / Prevent COVID-19
If caffeine, theophylline and theobromine can prevent COVID-19, countries with high coffee consumption would see far fewer cases.
Yet the top 5 consumers of coffee in the world – Iceland, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland – have over 4.5 million COVID-19 infections as of 22 October 2021, while China only has just over 96,700 infections.
Those 5 countries have a population of only 42 million, while China has 34X more people – 1.43 billion of them!
In other words, drinking coffee appears to make people 1584X more likely to get infected by COVID-19!
Of course, we are not so silly as to make that claim, because correlation does NOT mean causation!
But what we can say is that statistically, drinking coffee does not appear to help cure or prevent COVID-19.
Fact #5 : COVID-19 Vaccines Prevent COVID-19!
As of 27 October 2021, monoclonal antibodies can treat early COVID-19, while dexamethasone can reduce mortality in severe COVID-19.
Fortunately, we now have several vaccines that can prevent COVID-19, including :
So the best way to protect yourself isn’t to drink coffee, but to take an approved COVID-19 vaccine ASAP!
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