Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov raised eyebrows when he turned up wearing a controversial virus blocker badge – and then swiftly ditched it when he was told it did not work.
The green badge was photographed pinned on his jacket during a televised videoconference with Russian governors on 8th April, which was then identified as being one of the controversial “virus blockers”.
Advertised online, it has been claimed they are able to block pathogens with disinfectant properties caused by the fact that they contain chlorine dioxide that spreads through the air, killing bacteria and destroying viruses.
As a gas, it is irritating to mucous membranes and can cause coughing, and the US Food and Drug Administration have advised people against buying them. They noted that the deterrent against the coronavirus had previously been marketed as a remedy for everything from autism through to cancer, hepatitis, HIV, AIDS and flu.
The FDA added: “The solution, when mixed, develops into a dangerous bleach that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.”
The “AirDoctor Portable” badge worn by Peskov was purchased at a local supermarket, although a few days earlier Belarusian model Ekaterina Koba, 31, had filmed herself with a similar “virus blocker” badge hanging around her neck which she said kills viruses “within several metres”.
In a clip, the blonde model seen in her car, says: “Everyone is asking me what kind of badge I have hanging around my neck. This is a virus blocker, it works within several metres. There are others as well for use in homes but it’s very hard, almost impossible, to find them.”
Netizens were quick to poke fun at the model when she started wearing it, including ‘dzmitry547’ who commented: “How could someone believe something like this?!” And ‘nastya_brandy’ said: “Virus blockers – sounds so silly.”
But apparently the controversy around the devices had not reached Peskov, 52, who has apparently stopped wearing the device, although this has reportedly not stopped the manufacturer of the badge from starting to use him in their promotional material.
Asked why he had chosen it, he defended the move by saying: “You know, everyone is wearing what they can to take preventative measures.”
Journalists noted that the next day he turned up at another minister’s meeting – this time without his virus blocker badge.
Local media report ‘virus blockers’ are for sale in Russian pharmacies for around 1,000 RUB (12 GBP) which claim to kill viruses in a two-foot radius using chlorine ions.
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Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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