Faced with thousands of deaths, the researchers launched a race against the clock to find an effective treatment or a vaccine.
But at the same time, the wildest rumors continue to spread on the internet and social networks, fueling confusion.
In Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the new coronavirus, more than 210 people have died of methanol poisoning after rumors that drinking alcohol could help cure or protect themselves from Covid-19, according to the official Irna agency.
And the list of false remedies that can be dangerous is long, according to a list established by AFP.
Volcanic ash, UV lamps or bleach are all false recommendations that can even be harmful to the body, warned health officials.
Some publications on social networks advise drinking a solution of colloidal silver (containing silver in the form of nanoparticles) to “kill the coronavirus”.
“I currently manufacture colloidal silver. I have asthma and does it really work … (…) Does it help if I take a teaspoon a day, “asks Michelle, on a Facebook group.
The side effects of this solution can lead to discoloration of the skin, which takes on a gray-blue hue, and poor absorption of certain drugs, including antibiotics, according to the American National Institutes of Health (NIH).
These warnings are not dissuasive, however. Thus, an Australian explained to AFP to buy this product regularly, but that from now on “there are no more in my city … before the virus, one could always find some”.
Taking cocaine or drinking bleach is one of the bad tips that are also circulating on the internet.
“No, cocaine does not protect against Covid-19”, was even forced to warn the French Ministry of Health in a Tweet.
The rapid spread of information about unproven scientific theories can also lead anxious patients to take unnecessary risks.
Letters and theoretical articles in scientific journals have confused people with heart disease,
These publications discussed the fact that heart medications may increase the chances of developing a severe form of Covid-19.
This led the European and American health authorities to recommend to these patients to continue their treatment.
Carolyn Thomas, who maintains a blog for women with heart disease, says dozens of her readers contacted her following tweets warning of drugs used in cardiology.
“Until I see my cardiologist, I continue my treatment, even if I wonder if they do not make me more vulnerable to the virus,” said Thomas to AFP, in self-containment in Canada.
“I’m afraid to take them, but also to stop them,” she admitted.
Professor Garry Jennings, chief medical adviser to the Australian Heart Foundation said the articles “are based on a number of factors which are all controversial”. He warns patients who would interrupt their treatment, reminding them that they risk a heart attack or die.
“In the absence of any evidence and knowing that these drugs are beneficial, it is not a good idea to stop,” he said.
In the United States, a man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, one of the controversial treatments tested.
This Arizona resident, who had heard US President Donald Trump speak of it as being “a gift from heaven”, ingested too much of the aquarium care product that was fatal to him.
“I saw it on the back shelf and thought,” Hey, isn’t that what they are talking about on TV? “,” Said his wife told NBC News.