Connect with us

Health

How to get a private Covid-19 test in the UK (but it could cost you £350)

Published

on

how to get a private covid 19 test in the uk but it could cost you 350

Britain’s Covid-19 swab-testing system has been crumbling this week as cases are surging and hundreds of people say they can’t get tests even though they are ill.

Faced with a dead-end online booking system or directions to tests hundreds of miles from home, many are losing faith in NHS Test & Trace altogether.

But there are other ways to get tested. Websites run by private firms are offering in-clinic and DIY home tests for people wanting to speed up the process.

They come with a hefty price tag, however, with the most costly coming in at an eye-watering £350 for a swab done by a medical professional.

Although they’re likely to be very similar kits, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged members of the public not to take private tests.

He said in Parliament yesterday: ‘We don’t recommend any private tests that are not signed off and verified and therefore we’re providing tests, as many tests as we possibly can with a growing capacity.’

A move away from the national testing programme could allow new cases to go under the radar and get missed from official data, while there is a risk of profiteers selling tests that give inaccurate results.

Some of the UK’s top paid-for healthcare providers, BUPA, HCA and Babylon among them, are not offering swab tests to people unless they’re going into hospital, with Babylon instead directing people to the NHS programme.

Below are some of the tests available online. All are nose-and-throat swabs the same as the ones used at drive-in test centres:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people in the UK not to turn to private testing and to use the national – free – system being run by the Department of Health, but many people are facing long waits, long drives or are unable to get tested at all (Pictured: A queue of people outside an official testing centre in Manchester yesterday)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people in the UK not to turn to private testing and to use the national – free – system being run by the Department of Health, but many people are facing long waits, long drives or are unable to get tested at all (Pictured: A queue of people outside an official testing centre in Manchester yesterday)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people in the UK not to turn to private testing and to use the national – free – system being run by the Department of Health, but many people are facing long waits, long drives or are unable to get tested at all (Pictured: A queue of people outside an official testing centre in Manchester yesterday) 

London Doctors Clinic – £189

London Doctors Clinic will send people a DIY swab test which is used to diagnose Covid-19 for £189 each, including postage.

The company says it is using the same nose-and-throat swab tests used by the NHS Test & Trace programme, and that they are ‘approved by Public Health England’. 

Official testing centres have used more than one type of test since setting up, with the biggest players those made by the companies Randox and ThermoFisher.

The company claims its test is 98 per cent sensitive – meaning it correctly identifies 98 out of 100 people who have coronavirus – and 100 per cent specific, meaning it does not wrongly diagnose people who don’t have the virus. 

It says the results are available within three days of the test being posted back to the lab.

Assured Screening – £109

Assured Screening says its tests can detect more than 95 per cent of positive results

Assured Screening says its tests can detect more than 95 per cent of positive results

Assured Screening says its tests can detect more than 95 per cent of positive results

Assured Screening, a pharmaceutical lab based in County Durham, offers home testing or tests at a centre in the North East of England.

The test centre is located, aptly, in Barnard Castle – the Durham town where Government advisor Dominic Cummings was seen breaking self-isolation rules by going for a drive to ‘test his eyesight’.

For people who live out of range of the lab, home tests can be done in a process that usually takes three days, the company says.

Its tests are more than 95 per cent sensitive and 100 per cent specific, Assured Screening says, and it uses machines developed by big-name testing companies Qiagen, Roche and Thermo Scientific.

Assured Screening, a company offering private coronavirus tests, is based in Barnard Castle, the County Durham town where Government advisor Dominic Cummings was famously caught breaking self-isolation rules

Assured Screening, a company offering private coronavirus tests, is based in Barnard Castle, the County Durham town where Government advisor Dominic Cummings was famously caught breaking self-isolation rules

Assured Screening, a company offering private coronavirus tests, is based in Barnard Castle, the County Durham town where Government advisor Dominic Cummings was famously caught breaking self-isolation rules

Private Harley Street Clinic – £250-£350

A website called Private Harley Street Clinic offers tests for up to £350.  

Customers can order home test swab kits for £250, which are posted out, or have a home visit from a medical professional for £350. 

The company, which has a clinic and laboratory on the famous medical street in west London, says it can provide people with test results the next working day, between 20 and 48 hours.

It says the tests are ‘the same used by Public Health England’ but does not name the kit. The website says they are 70 per cent sensitive – meaning 30 out of 100 infected people will be wrongly told they do not have the virus.

The tests are 100 per cent specific, the site claims, showing that the false positive rate is ‘negligible’.

DocTap – £129

Another London-based private clinic, DocTap, offers swab tests and ‘fitness to travel certificates’ for £129 but these can only be taken in person in the city.

DocTap says it can offer ‘PHE approved’ tests and get people their results within three days.

The swabs are done at one of seven testing sites around London or they can be sent by post – mail order kits may take up to a week to complete, from order to result.

The test is a DIY self-swab that people must use on their nose and throat themselves, or they can pay an extra £15 to have a medical professional do it for them.

DocTap’s service appears centred around certifying people ‘fit to fly’ if they test negative for the virus, and offers certificates to prove someone’s Covid-free status.

Some countries, such as Cyprus, now require these certificates to prove travellers do not have the virus before they are allowed into the country. 

The company does not make clear the type of test it uses, nor how accurate it is. 

Doctorcall – £160+

Doctorcall claims its test is 'highly reliable'

Doctorcall claims its test is 'highly reliable'

Doctorcall claims its test is ‘highly reliable’

Doctorcall, also a clinic based on Harley Street, offers swab tests for coronavirus for upwards of £160.

A home test, sent by post, costs £160 and is reportedly processed at ‘the largest private accredited laboratory in the UK’, with results returned within three days.

The company recommends people take the test within five days of starting to experience symptoms of Covid-19.

Doctorcall also offers in-clinic tests to people who do not have symptoms, and home visits from doctors. A doctor’s visit is charged on top of the £157 test fee.

The website does not name the test it uses or say how accurate it is, other than to say it is ‘highly reliable’.

CityDoc – £175

CityDoc offers Covid-19 swab tests to people either by mail order or at clinics in London.

Tests done in clinics return results the next day, CityDoc says, while postal kits will take approximately three days after it is posted back to the lab.

People can order up to 10 tests at a time for £175 each and they are certified for proving people safe for foreign travel.

CityDoc says its test is 99 per cent accurate. 

London Global Practice – £315

London Global Practice, a private healthcare provider, offers same-day swab testing for £315 a go.

The tests can be ordered online and sent out by courier on the same day for people to do the swabs themselves at home. Each order includes a video consultation with a a member of staff who tells the customer how to do the test.

The company says test results can be confirmed on the ‘same day’ if the samples are received by 7am.

It does not reveal the accuracy of the test nor name the product. 

Medinow – £125+

Medinow markets its test with the fact the clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission

Medinow markets its test with the fact the clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission

Medinow markets its test with the fact the clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission

Medinow, a private medical services company, allows members of the public to buy home testing kits for Covid-19 or a visit from a health professional to do the test.

The home test costs £125, while the price for the visit is not advertised.

Medinow says its tests are 99.9 per cent accurate and its results will be produced around two days after the sample is received by the laboratory by post.

The firm requests that customers contact staff directly to discuss have a test done by a medical visitor to their home or office. The price is not advertised.

Private Coronavirus Tests – £149

Private Coronavirus Tests's service claims to be 100 per cent accurate

Private Coronavirus Tests's service claims to be 100 per cent accurate

Private Coronavirus Tests’s service claims to be 100 per cent accurate

Private Coronavirus Tests appears to be a website set up solely to sell swab tests.

The kits cost £149 each and claim to be 100 per cent accurate, although it is not clear what company they are produced by.

The company claims to be ‘a laboratory set up by NHS registered GPs and consultants to provide easy access to pathology testing services’.

Results are returned within two to three days, the website says, and it offers discounts for NHS staff.

Powered by: Daily Mail

Health

Was James Cracknell’s 100-mile run over five days with no food the daftest stunt ever?

Published

on

By

was james cracknells 100 mile run over five days with no food the daftest stunt ever

He has trekked 370 miles of Arabian desert, rowed naked across 2,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, survived a traumatic brain injury during a 2010 cycling accident, and was part of Cambridge University’s triumphant team in last year’s Boat Race.

It would be fair to say that Olympic champion James Cracknell enjoys a challenge. But was his latest stunt, which he completed last week, his riskiest yet?

Last Saturday, the 48-year-old father-of-three embarked on what would seem, at first glance, a relatively harmless, if impressive, endeavour: running 100 miles over five days. Only, as he revealed to his 90,000 Twitter followers, he had decided to do so without eating anything for the duration.

Cracknell and his seven team-mates – including bloggers and healthcare professionals – fuelled themselves on water and the occasional black coffee. Two of the group have type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce insulin – the hormone needed to metabolise food for fuel – meaning they are at an increased risk of a potentially fatal seizure if they go for too long without food.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the stunt has been branded ‘dangerous’, ‘irresponsible’ and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, ‘a really, really stupid idea’.

Cracknell, however, has a point to prove. He has claimed the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis.

James Cracknell's 100-mile run over five days has been branded 'dangerous', 'irresponsible' and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, 'a really, really stupid idea'

James Cracknell's 100-mile run over five days has been branded 'dangerous', 'irresponsible' and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, 'a really, really stupid idea'

James Cracknell’s 100-mile run over five days has been branded ‘dangerous’, ‘irresponsible’ and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, ‘a really, really stupid idea’

The theory, popular with many low-carb converts, is that once the body runs out of carbohydrates – rapidly converted to sugar and utilised for energy – it burns fat, prompting speedier weight loss.

His second goal is to show that a low-carb diet is an effective therapeutic treatment for diabetes and beneficial for pre-diabetics.

Despite the criticism from some medics, others were supportive. Four healthcare professionals, including an NHS GP and a specialist in child eating disorders, were involved in the challenge, with some participating themselves. And former Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson, who claims he lost 8st as a result of cutting carbs, wrote: ‘I wish I was with you!’

So, is it really as stupid an idea as it might seem? According to daily YouTube videos posted by Cracknell’s fellow runner Steve Bennett, founder of supplement company Primal Living, the challenge was a ‘science-breaking’ success, with participants finishing on ‘high energy’ and with no health complications.

But according to Renee McGregor, a specialist dietician who works with Team GB athletes, they had a lucky escape.

What’s the difference…between gallstones and kidney stones? 

Gallstones result from a chemical imbalance in bile, a substance involved in fat digestion. 

When symptoms occur, it’s often after eating fatty foods. If the stones become trapped or cause inflammation, they may be removed by keyhole surgery.

Kidney stones, which are made of crystallised chemicals, can result in agonising pain and kidney damage. 

Extreme dehydration, certain drugs and high-protein diets can increase the risk of them developing. The pain they cause may lead to hospitalisation. 

Small stones may be passed in urine. Larger ones can require surgery.

<!—->Advertisement

Cracknell’s health claims about the benefits of fasted exercise – especially for type 1 diabetics – is ‘scarily incorrect’, says McGregor.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, which studies have shown can, in some cases, be put into remission via a weight-loss diet, type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system and cannot be treated with lifestyle changes alone. Type 1 diabetics need regular injections of the vital hormone insulin, which helps the body absorb sugar, used for energy, from food. And for them, eating nothing at all can be fatal, especially while exercising, says Dr Yeo.

‘First there’s a chance of hypoglycaemia, when the blood sugar levels drop drastically, risking brain damage, coma, or even sudden death,’ he adds. ‘Even if you’ve eating lots previously and you’re not injecting insulin – keeping blood sugar high – exercising for long periods while starving yourself makes hypoglycaemia more likely. The dangerous drops in blood sugar can happen at a moment’s notice in type 1 diabetics.’

Then there’s the risk that the blood could become dangerously acidic, a state known as ketoacidosis, which Dr Yeo says could also become fatal ‘within hours’. ‘Acidic compounds called ketones build up when the body burns its own fat,’ he explains. ‘But this can quickly become uncontrolled in people with type 1 diabetes. Even a slight increase in the acidity of the blood could put you in a coma within hours, if left untreated.’

According to NHS guidance, a blood ketone level above 0.6mmol is a cause for concern. On day four of the challenge, participant Jon Furniss, an engineer who has type 1 diabetes, wrote on his Twitter feed that his ketones measured 5.8mmol – more than eight times the NHS’s safe limit.

Furniss added: ‘Ketones alone do not signal ketoacidosis, that happens after VERY high blood glucose. My BG [blood glucose, or blood sugar level] has been normal throughout.’

Yet a wealth of medical studies contradict this.

Low-carb diet club diabetes.co.uk says: ‘In most cases, ketoacidosis in people with diabetes will be accompanied by high sugar levels. However, ketoacidosis can also occur at low or normal blood glucose levels. This may occur if someone who is insulin dependent neither eats nor takes sufficient insulin for a prolonged period of time.’

And the risks of a fasting marathon don’t apply only to diabetics – it could harm healthy people, too.

‘Research shows that even two or three 60-minute sessions of exercise without eating before can dramatically suppress the immune system because of an increase in stress hormones, ‘ says McGregor.

Cracknell claims the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis

Cracknell claims the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis

Cracknell claims the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis

‘Studies on marathon runners show that competitors are highly susceptible to bacterial and viral infections for a week afterwards, which isn’t ideal at this current time. Even after five days of fasting while exercising there’s likely to be a dramatic drop in sex hormones, affecting everything from cognitive function to bone health to fertility.’

Professor Mike Gleeson, an expert in exercise physiology at Loughborough University, has serious concerns. ‘It doesn’t take long to become deficient in minerals and vitamins we don’t store well, including Vitamins C and B – essential for healthy blood cells and providing organs and muscle with enough energy to function. You’ll quickly become deficient in protein, so you’re likely to lose quite a bit of muscle.’

And rather than improving athletic performance, as suggested by some of Cracknell’s supporters, running on empty will hinder it.

What to read, watch and do 

READ

The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion

Christie Watson, a former nurse who returned to work in critical care during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, shares inspirational stories about those who work on hospital wards and the bravery of the patients and families they care for.

Vintage Publishing, £16.99

The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion

The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion

The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion

WATCH

Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia

Former international cricket star Freddie Flintoff opens up about his eating disorder of 20 years. He meets other sufferers and specialists across the UK in an effort to find out more.

Tomorrow, 9pm, BBC1

DO

The Oxford Science + Ideas Festival

A month-long series of live experiments, talks and virtual activities for children and adults, covering everything from vaccines and new drugs to climate science and quantum physics.

October 1 to 31

if-oxford.com/events

<!—->Advertisement

‘It’s hard for the body to use fat for energy, and when it can’t be broken down quickly enough, the body will begin to break down muscle, increasing the risk of strains,’ says McGregor. ‘Most people would eventually just hit a wall.’

And this, say the experts, is why carbohydrates are crucial. ‘When we consume carbs, they’re broken down into glucose and absorbed into cells where it’s used for energy. But this process also triggers the release of chemicals that help break down fat, which can then also be used as fuel,’ says Dr Yeo.

Tellingly, on day two, more than 20 miles into the challenge, Steve Bennett reported feeling ‘thoroughly miserable’ and ‘void of energy’. He said: ‘I feel lousy and miserable. My feet ache, my knees ache, my toes ache – and we still have three days to go.’

According to McGregor, carbohydrates are the body’s ‘preferred currency for energy’. ‘The body is very efficient at converting glucose to energy,’ she says. ‘And muscles will only get bigger and stronger if there are sufficient carb stores in the system.’

So if you wish to partake in an extreme physical challenge, such as a 100-mile run, what should you eat? At least two pasta bowls’ worth of carbohydrates daily, and roughly three chicken breasts’ worth of protein, say the experts.

Renee McGregor adds: ‘Beforehand, eat something slow-releasing, such as porridge or toast with a banana and peanut butter, and then stop every couple of hours to fuel again on something similar. Trying to eat less isn’t just pointless, it’s harmful.’

Did Cracknell prove what he set out to prove? On Thursday, Bennett reported that all the participants had completed the challenge, then had a ‘nice meal’. ‘All our markers were stable throughout, and all finished with high energy and spirits,’ he added.

It’s been hinted a documentary is planned that will give full details. Dr Yeo is sceptical anything could be gained from such an experiment, saying: ‘It doesn’t prove anything. It’s an entirely pointless exercise.’

And McGregor has a stark warning for anyone considering giving it a go: ‘I wouldn’t recommend anyone tries this, especially those with type 1 diabetes. It’s too dangerous.’

In a statement, James Cracknell said that all eight participants completed the challenge, with ‘no issues whatsoever’ – and insisted it was ‘thoroughly researched’ and carried out after consultation with experts. He said: ‘The project was set up to explore the potential of fat-burning metabolism in diabetes and sport by taking it to extremes.

‘Renee McGregor is quite right, this should not be repeated by people with type 1 diabetes – it was never the point of this project to be a recommendation. No type 1 diabetics should undertake changes to their management without medical consultation. and they should never stop taking insulin as this can be fatal.’

He added: ‘The project was not reckless or stupid but a serious scientific endeavour.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Health

BARNEY CALMAN investigates the appalling tragedy of the elderly kept apart from their loved ones

Published

on

By

barney calman investigates the appalling tragedy of the elderly kept apart from their loved ones

The woman on the phone is in pieces. ‘I’ve been in lockdown in my care home since March, and they won’t release me,’ she sobs. ‘My husband lives here, too, but they won’t let me see him. He’s in another room, on a different floor. He is 100 and he has dementia. He needs me. It’s wicked. Just wicked.’

Her name is Margaret and she is almost 92 years old. She has lived through a world war. She can remember times when scarlet fever, typhoid and polio killed thousands every year.

‘But this is so much worse, because of what they’re doing to us,’ she continues.

Before the pandemic struck and residents were confined to the home, she’d visit the local gym twice a week – and even made the local news for doing so.

After we speak, I find the interview. In it, she’s quoted saying: ‘My advice to you all, whatever age you are, is to keep active. Avoid getting bored and fill your lives with things that can keep your mind and body healthy. You are never too old.’

A nurse in PPE speaks to a resident at the Wren Hall care home in Nottingham

A nurse in PPE speaks to a resident at the Wren Hall care home in Nottingham

A nurse in PPE speaks to a resident at the Wren Hall care home in Nottingham 

The Margaret I spoke to couldn’t have been more different. Crushed. Angry. Afraid.

Staying fit also helped her control the symptoms of chronic lung disease. Having been cooped up since March, her condition has now worsened considerably.

She told me: ‘They say I’m being shielded for my health but no one has asked us, and they don’t think about how what they’re doing is making us suffer.

‘I’m not scared of this virus. Not a bit. And I understand the risk. But my husband and I are in our last years and I am frightened I won’t see him again if this goes on for much longer.’

Over the past three weeks, The Mail on Sunday has reported on a new crisis engulfing Britain’s care homes: thousands of residents who have been kept in almost complete lockdown since March.

Visits are barred, or drastically limited. Families have been torn apart – blocked from seeing loved ones. Residents held captive in their rooms.

We’ve now received hundreds of emails, letters and calls like Margaret’s, each telling a similarly harrowing story.

A husband who once spent hours every evening with his wife, reduced to gazing at her through a locked glass window once a week for 15 minutes. Children, forced to watch as their once-happy parents wither and waste away, starved of any contact, comfort or love.

Parents seeing their young disabled children forcibly held down by care home staff, simply for trying to give their mum or dad a hug.

George had a visit from a loved one through a window at Digby Manor Residential Care Home, Birmingham

George had a visit from a loved one through a window at Digby Manor Residential Care Home, Birmingham

George had a visit from a loved one through a window at Digby Manor Residential Care Home, Birmingham

It goes on and on. A sea of misery. This newspaper raised the alarm earlier this month, as dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation.

The instructions, published by the Government in July, make limiting infections a priority above all else. But the lack of any other clear directive has led to many care homes implementing blanket bans. And these are, arguably, in breach of human rights.

Last week, the Government responded. Or rather, they emailed the John’s Campaign legal team, Leigh Day, to say they couldn’t respond yet because they were ‘extremely busy dealing with the pandemic’. But this is the pandemic.

Now the Joint Committee on Human Rights has warned that it, too, believes emergency corona legislation – passed without the scrutiny of Parliament – risks infringing human rights.

In its report, published last week, chairman Harriet Harman singled out the blanket bans on care home visits for being ‘unjustifiable’. Another word that came up a lot was ‘disproportionate’.

Having spoken to scores of families, I’m simply left wondering how, in a supposedly civilised society, is this happening at all. John’s Campaign lawyers Leigh Day say that if the Government doesn’t stop fobbing them off, and respond fully, at end of the month they will go to the High Court regardless. Because, make no mistake, this kind of treatment is also lethal.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia already kill hundreds of people each day – but numbers have risen by a disturbing 52 per cent since these measures began. And no one should be surprised when numbers continue to climb, as the detrimental effect of sensory deprivation, seclusion and long-term solitary confinement are well known.

Government decision-making is, they say, being led by the science. But clearly they missed the decades of research in to how such torturous conditions can cause rapid mental and physical deterioration even in young, fit people.

Dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation

Dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation

Dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation

Interestingly, many of these studies were done in high-security prisons. And that’s just how the current care home situation is described, over and over, in the emails and letters and calls: it’s like being in prison. Worse, in fact – as there is no end in sight. How can this be allowed to go on?

The situation for those in care, if anything, has worsened over the past weeks. With Covid cases rising across the country, local lockdowns mean further tightening of rules.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has banned people from going into each other’s homes, plunging elderly people still living at home into further isolation. And this is intended to go on for six months.

Of course, those most vulnerable to corona shouldn’t be exposed unnecessarily. But many will die as a direct result of these measures.

And it will be a horrible, drawn-out and lonely death.

One that leaves only lingering guilt for those left behind, who have told us time and time again that they will never forgive themselves for not fighting harder.

Of course they feel like that. But really, there was nothing they could have done.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has often spoken about the ‘protective ring’ he promised to throw around the elderly in care. Is this really what he meant?

It’s a complex situation, without doubt. But the risk posed by a handful of consistent visitors is low, so there must be another way.

Mr Hancock, who was too busy with the pandemic to respond to the care homes crisis did, last week, seem to have time to do an interview with Sky News on the sex lives of students.

But soon, with a looming judicial review, ever more angry MPs, and as calls for a full public inquiry continue to grow, he will have nowhere to hide.

Meanwhile, Margaret lives in terror of her eye check-up at the local hospital – because, when she gets back, she will be put into the ‘solitary confinement’ of quarantine for two weeks.

Locked in her room. Alone.

‘I don’t know how much longer I can go on,’ she says. ‘I just want my life back.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Health

Pets can get Covid… but do you really need a virus mask for your dog?

Published

on

By

pets can get covid but do you really need a virus mask for your dog

When the Great Plague hit London in 1665, many believed it was the end of days. But for some it was an opportunity. Doctors ‘prescribed’ lucky charms, such as dead toads, to ward off the disease if worn around the neck. ‘Plague water’, apparently made from powdered unicorn horn, fetched a high price, while victims were directed to rub dead pigeons on their sores.

Today, with a global Covid death toll of about one million, it seems that once again there are those ready to cash in, with everything from vitamin supplements to face masks for pets, all said to protect us from the pandemic.

So are they brilliant breakthroughs… or useless junk? We asked experts for their verdict on six of the most eye-catching Covid-proofing products on the market.

FACEMASKS FOR DOGS

Yudote Dogs Face Mask, £8.99

THEY SAY

Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets. Amazon sells a host of designs, and Yudote’s version supposedly protects against ‘smog, smoke, chemicals, mould, allergies and more’.

Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets

Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets

Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets

EXPERT VERDICT

Can pets even catch coronavirus? The answer, according to Dorothee Bienzle, professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, is yes. ‘Our research has shown that cats can get infected and exhibit symptoms,’ she says. But cats are more likely to get sick than dogs, which have been less likely to show symptoms in studies.

Crucially, Prof Bienzle says it is still unknown whether pets can pass Covid to their owners – but it seems unlikely.

Even so, doggy face masks are not the solution. Prof Bienzle says: ‘The risk of a dog choking on the mask is a greater risk than the small chance it would protect them from Covid.’

CANNABIS OIL TO FIX YOUR COVID ANXIETY

Love Hemp 3% CBD Oil, £19.99, pictured below

THEY SAY

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 chemicals in the cannabis plant. It has no narcotic effect, but advocates say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits. Love Hemp boss Tony Calamita suggests customers are using such products to treat Covid-related stresses.

EXPERT VERDICT

Studies that have found psychological benefits of CBD involve medical-grade products with far higher concentrations of the substance than you’ll find on the high street, according to psychiatrist Amir Englund, from King’s College London.

A reduction in paranoid symptoms has been found in psychosis and schizophrenia patients – but only with substances made up of at least 98 per cent CBD. Love Hemp’s oil contains just three per cent. Also, there’s no good evidence that CBD oil eases anxiety or improves sleep.

Advocates of CBD say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits

Advocates of CBD say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits

Advocates of CBD say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits

AN IMMUNITY DRIP

Gallery Aesthetics Immunity IV, from £40

THEY SAY

Vitamin drips – intravenous (IV) doses of Vitamins C, D, B12 and others – have soared in popularity over the past few years, with some online companies offering treatments at your office and even in shopping malls.

Facebook advertisements for Gallery Aesthetics’ Immunity IV drip say ‘With our current health crisis, you NEED to boost your immune system’, claiming the treatments are ‘a great way to help keep your immune system strong – IV vitamins are absorbed at 100 per cent’.

EXPERT VERDICT

Vitamin drips have been widely criticised, with NHS England Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis warning that they risk ‘significant damage to health’.

Doctors say the needles risk skin infections, bruising, pain and inflammation of the vein, if not delivered by a medical professional. And Marcela Fiuza, of the British Dietetic Association, says that while there’s some evidence that doses of Vitamin C and D can help ward off infections in those who are deficient, ‘there is no evidence to suggest high doses of either will protect against coronavirus’.

SKIN PRODUCTS TO CURE MASK ACNE

Dr Jart+ Cryo Rubber So Cool Duo, £19.68

THEY SAY

Korean skincare giant Dr Jart+ say ‘wearing protective face masks can lead to breakouts’. To combat this, it has launched a range of products, including cleansers, designed to combat what it calls ‘maskne’ – acne caused by masks.

EXPERT VERDICT

Wearing a mask could increase spots in some people, says dermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed. She says that hormones, genetics and bacteria that gets on to the skin are the main factors for acne, but adds: ‘Anything that generates friction, such as a mask, could cause more dirt and sweat to collect, increasing the risk of spots.’

So will Dr Jart+’s treatment tackle this? Perhaps, says Dr Ahmed. ‘It contains hyaluronic acid, which is highly moisturising, so it’ll prevent dry and flaky dead skin cells getting trapped – which can cause spots. Their mask is also very cold. This could destroy bacteria on the skin too.’

ANTI-VIRUS DIET

The 21-Day Immunity Plan, £8.42, pictured above

THEY SAY

There’s growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to ‘rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19’.

There's growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to 'rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19'

There's growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to 'rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19'

There’s growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to ‘rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19’

EXPERT VERDICT

The book contains healthy eating advice that may bring weight loss. But dietician Alexia Dempsey says the link between weight and Covid illness isn’t clear-cut, and adds: ‘There’s no proof that changing your diet for a short period will stop you getting seriously ill or make any difference to the immune system.’

THE VIRUS-FIGHTING DOOR HANDLE

Green Facilities Purehold Pull Handle Cover, £29.99

THEY SAY

Makers say this plastic and silver cover for door handles kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria on contact. While Covid-19 is a virus, not bacteria, the firm’s website implies the product can tackle it.

EXPERT VERDICT

Dr Tina Joshi, lecturer in molecular microbiology at Plymouth University, says that silver is antibacterial but is not known to be effective against viruses. She also says the handle would get less effective over time. ‘It might also lure people into a false sense of security, making them think there’s no need to wash their hands, which would be even more risky,’ she adds.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DiazHub.