Covid-19 cannot be fought by a person’s Vitamin C-boosted natural immunity, the Director-General of Health has said in response to false social media claims.
“There have also been claims on social media that people’s natural immunity or Vitamin C are sufficient to fight Covid-19 so there’s no need to get tested or, indeed, get vaccinated. This is not the case,” Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.
He said Covid-19 was an infectious virus that can cause ongoing problems like “Long Covid”, in addition to acute symptoms.
On Tuesday, Bloomfield debunked the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.
He explained the treatments that were in use in New Zealand, which were backed by scientific evidence.
Bloomfield said when a person contracts Covid-19, the virus attacks their body and causes problems. In other cases, the virus can then trigger an immune reaction that can cause further issues.
Treatments have been developed to try and address either of the two, he said.
The first type was anti-viral drugs “that limit the ability for the virus to replicate and thrive in the body”, Bloomfield said.
One treatment of this type was Remdesivir, which was being used in New Zealand and in other countries.
The second type of treatment were ones that tried to “calm” the immune system, he said.
One medicine of this kind being used in New Zealand was Dexamethasone. Bloomfield said this was a standard and widely-used steroid “for some time” in ICUs.
The third type was antibody treatments that helped the body fight Covid-19, Bloomfield explained.
Various monoclonal antibody treatments “may help hospitalised patients” and reduce time in hospital, according to international evidence, he said.
He said these types of treatments were still being assessed by regulatory body Medsafe.
Overseas, several treatments have shown some promise in helping during the early stages of infection, Bloomfield said.
This included Ronapreve, which contains Casirivimab and Imdevimab. This treatment has been given emergency approval in the US and the UK.
“It complements, rather than replaces vaccination as all these treatments do,” Bloomfield said.