InfoWars founder Alex Jones promoted a toothpaste he claims federal officials have said can kill coronavirus, which has infected and killed thousands worldwide, despite recent warnings issued by government agencies debunking that claim.
According to HuffPost, the conspiracy theorist — who was arrested near Austin on Tuesday morning and charged with driving while intoxicated — made the claim about the toothpaste, which is being advertised as “nano-silver infused” on his website, during his show earlier this week.
“The patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range,” he reportedly said on the show.
“They’re still discounted despite all the hell breaking loose,” he continued.
The claim comes about a week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned The Jim Bakker Show and other companies for selling “fraudulent COVID-19 products” claiming to cure or prevent the virus.
Those items included teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, which is also reportedly known as nanosilver.
A journal published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in July 2013 said nanosilver has “been used for different reasons in consumer and commercial products over the past century, although ‘nano’ terminology does not always appear in the patent or scientific literature.”
“Colloidal silver, in which silver particles down to the nanoscale are suspended in liquid, has been used for health and medical reasons since the early twentieth century and is now marketed as a dietary supplement and alternative medicine cure-all,” it went on to state.
The FDA has warned about colloidal silver and its ineffectiveness in treating illnesses in the past. In 1999, the agency warned that many over-the-counter (OTC) drug products containing the material were “being marketed for numerous serious disease conditions.” At the time, the agency also said that it was not “aware of any substantial scientific evidence that supports the use of OTC colloidal silver ingredients” for those conditions.
In a news release on Monday detailing the warning letters it issued to companies that were selling products that claim to treat COVID-19, the agency reminded consumers "to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, mitigate, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19.”
It also reiterated in its notice that, as of now, there are no vaccines or drugs approved to treat the virus.
“Although there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness,” it added.
An FDA spokesperson told The Hill on Thursday that the agency is "aware of claims made by Alex Jones regarding supplements claiming to cure COVID-19."
The spokesman said that it "does not discuss compliance or enforcement matters, except with the party involved."
To date, the FDA "has issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products and the agency intend to take further action — including but not limited to WLs — as appropriate," they also said.
"The FDA and FTC will continue to monitor social media, online marketplaces and incoming complaints to help ensure that the companies do not continue to sell fraudulent products that claim to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)," they added.
The Hill has also reached out to the Department for Homeland Security for comment regarding Jones's claims.
Updated on March 12 at 11:24 a.m.