Five fake news of the week


While there’s so much happening around the world and things going viral on social media every day, we at Karvaan India aim to bring in-depth and well researched news for our readers.

Here are five fake news from last week:

  • Urdu being replaced with Sanskrit on Dehradun Railway station signboard- BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, shared an old photograph of a signboard at Dehradun station with the city’s name written in Urdu replaced with the Sanskrit language. The board was altered to its earlier form a few days later but Patra did not share this information.On February 7, 2020, Division Railway Manager (DRM) Moradabad issued a clarification notice regarding the replacement of Urdu with Sanskrit from Railway signboard in Uttarakhand. As per the letter, “Indian Railways has neither replaced Urdu language from any station nor has any intention to do so at this point in time. Sanskrit may be used as an additional language apart from existing languages in the signboards at railway stations but will not replace Urdu wherever the same exists.”
  • Russia’s Sechenov University completing COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials- On July 12, Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) reported, “The first stage of research on the vaccine at Sechenov University kicked off on June 18 when a group of 18 volunteers were vaccinated. The second group of 20 volunteers were vaccinated on June 23.” However, it’s pertinent to note that the first sentence of the report could have contributed to widespread misinformation. It said, “Clinical trials of vaccine against the novel coronavirus were completed on volunteers at Sechenov University.” The COVID-19 vaccine tracker created by the WHO states that the vaccine is in Phase 1/2 of clinical trials.
  • Calls from ‘+140’ numbers will empty bank account- Maharashtra Cyber Police tweeted that numbers starting with +140 number are of telemarketing calls. According to the tweet, this is just a rumour and bank accounts are at risk only if a person shares their PIN number or OTP. In the end, the tweet said that the clarification has been issued by the Inspector General of Special Police.
  • WHO’s comment on asymptomatic COVID-19 patients not required to be isolated or quarantined– WHO did not say that asymptomatic patients cannot spread coronavirus but that the transmission is “very rare”. They have also suggested isolation for these patients. This comment was not well-received by the scientific community.
  • Homeopathic drugs such as Arsenicum Album 30, promoted by AYUSH, claiming to boost immunity against COVID-19- None of the studies mentioned in the Bellavite et al. 2015 review article proves that Arsenicum album 30 will boost immunity in humans or in animals to protect against infectious diseases. In fact, the claims of cell protection, genetic modulation or the high potency of low doses, has not been conducted systematically in any infectious disease models. Thus, homeopathy as an immune booster against COVID-19 remains heavily marketed and the most dangerous pseudoscience that the AYUSH ministry has produced during this pandemic.

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