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Bananas do not help prevent the coronavirus

March 18, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Research by scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia has proven that bananas bolster the immune system due to the super source of vitamin B-6 and helps prevent coronavirus. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A video circulating on social media that claims to show researchers at the University of Queensland finding a tie between preventing the coronavirus and bananas has been manipulated. Bananas do not help prevent the coronavirus.

THE FACTS: As researchers rush to develop a vaccine to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, a video circulating on Facebook falsely represents work being done by scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia.

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The 58-second video takes footage from an ABC Australia news segment, which aired in January about research at the Queensland university to create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and combines it with a Wall Street Journal video on research around the vaccine. It then adds images of bananas overlaid with text suggesting the benefits of bananas in combating the virus.  

The ABC Australia and The Wall Street Journal videos, which are both available online, make no reference to bananas preventing or killing the coronavirus. 

A University of Queensland spokesperson told The Associated Press in an email that the video is fake and said they strongly recommend people do not share it.  

The claim spread in the Philippines in March after officials in the country claimed that bananas could kill the virus.

While bananas are a good source of nutrients, including vitamin B6, fiber and potassium, there is no evidence that bananas can prevent or kill coronavirus. Similar claims have been made around garlic.

 

“There is no correlation of bananas or garlic or any of the foods we know of with this virus,” said Dr. Faheem Younus, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of Maryland.  

Coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000 globally. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Johns Hopkins University has found that more than 82,000 people have recovered from the virus. The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms of fever and cough and in more severe cases causes pneumonia. 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536


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