Pseudoscientific beliefs and practices in the COVID-19 pandemic: A narrative review of unwanted experiments attributed to social media-based misinformation afflicting the public health

Senthilkumar Chinnu Sugavanam, Balakrishnan Natarajan


Background: On January 30, 2020, India reported its first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive case that led to the national lockdown, health surveillance, and travel restrictions. The Government of India (GoI) is advising personal hygiene practices as prophylaxis, however, remains poorly understood by the people. Too, believing in social media-based misinformation leading to pseudoscientific practices suggesting all from giving up non-vegetarian food to eating garlic is afflicting. This review sheds light on pseudoscientific beliefs and practices of the Indian public to prevent COVID-19. Methods: This narrative review gathered scientific evidence to describe the facts against pseudoscientific beliefs and practices in the COVID-19 pandemic. We examined available evidence from relevant research articles to present the facts about pseudoscientific practices. In particular, regarding the use of complementary and alternative medicine and its practice to prevent COVID-19, we searched the high-quality literature in PubMed, PubMed Central, and Cochrane Library databases for the determined outcomes. Results: Based on scientific shreds of evidence, it is apparent that social media-based misinformation and its pseudoscientific practices severely affecting the public health in the COVID-19 pandemic. The public must look into the facts rigorously before performing pseudoscientific practices and need to follow GoI instructions perpetually. The findings of this review suggest a high level of public awareness of evidence-based prophylactic measures. Conclusion: There is an urgent need for public health promotion initiatives to bring up awareness of the COVID-19 spread and its preventive hygiene practices. The dissemination of health awareness to the public across the nation is warranted.


COVID-19 pandemic; Indian public; Social media-based misinformation; Pseudoscientific beliefs and practices; Public health threat

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Direitos autorais 2020 Journal of Health & Biological Sciences

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