CLAIM: Colloidal silver products can help prevent or protect against the new coronavirus from China.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: The silver solution has no known benefit in the body when ingested, according to officials with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a federal scientific research agency.
Colloidal silver is made up of silver particles suspended in a liquid, and has often has often been falsely peddled as a miracle solution to boost the immune system and cure diseases. Social media users have most recently linked it to products to address the new virus that emerged from China. But experts have long said that the solution has no known function or benefits. “There are no complementary products, such as colloidal silver or herbal remedies, that have been proven effective in preventing or treating this disease (COVID-19), and colloidal silver can have serious side effects,” Dr. Helene Langevin, director for the NCCIH.
The FDA has taken action against companies promoting colloidal silver products with misleading claims. The NCCIH says colloidal silver has the power to turn skin blue when silver builds up in the body’s tissue. In 2002, The Associated Press reported that the skin of a Libertarian Senate candidate in Montana turned blue-gray after taking too much colloidal silver. The candidate, Stan Jones, made the solution himself and began taking it in 1999 to prepare for Y2K disruptions, according to the report.
On Wednesday, televangelist Jim Bakker interviewed a guest on his show who promoted silver solution products, claiming the substance had been tested on previous coronavirus strains and eliminated them in hours. She said it had not been tested on the new coronavirus. As the guest spoke, ads ran on the screen for items like a “Cold & Flu Season Silver Sol” collection for $125. Bakker did not immediately return a request for comment.
Coronavirus is a broad name for a family of viruses including SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. As of Friday, China had reported 63,851 confirmed cases on the mainland, with 1,380 deaths.
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.