Iranian media reports nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 1,000 sickened so far after consuming methanol thinking it will protect them against the coronavirus disease.
Combating coronavirus, social media posts across Islamic Republic of Iran have been awash recently with theories that industrial alcohol such as methanol could cure and prevent coronavirus.
Unfortunately in some provinces, including Khuzestan and Fars, deaths from drinking methanol has exceeded the number of deaths by the new coronavirus.
Some social media posts claimed that a British school teacher and others cured themselves of the coronavirus with whisky and honey.
Fear of the virus, coupled with poor education and internet rumors, saw dozens sickened by drinking bootleg alcohol containing methanol in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province and its southern city of Shiraz, with the misconception that it prevents coronavirus, since the consumption of alcohol is banned in the Islamic country.
Muslim drinkers in Iran can be punished with cash fines and 80 lashes. However, minority Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians can drink alcoholic beverages in private.
Methanol cannot be smelled or tasted in drinks. It causes delayed organ and brain damage. Symptoms include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness and even coma.
The Islamic Republic has reported over 29,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,200 deaths from the virus, the highest toll of any country in the Middle East.
As of now, there is no known cure for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Scientists and doctors continue to study the virus and search for effective medicines and a vaccine.