Bolivians are now ingesting chlorine dioxide, known by its advocates as Miracle Mineral Solutions, to treat COVID-19. This chemical was approved by the senate as a treatment for the disease that has affected people from around the globe.
In the Bolivian City of Cochabamba, the provincial government has approved its use, and many believe that the substance can help treat COVID. Pharmacies are selling chlorine dioxide and it is made available for the prevention and healing from COVID-19.
MMS supporters claim that the substance can treat virtually any illness, including COVID-19.
While it is illegal in Bolivia to promote MMS as a medical substance, the country is in a vulnerable position, and the legislature passed a bill that would authorize its use.
MMS is already in production at university laboratories and is ready for distribution to COVID-19 patients. Across the country, there have been numerous injuries and a single death reported among those who used the chemical as a drug. (Related: Chlorine dioxide to treat COVID? YES, says Dr. Manuel Aparicio.)
Andreas Kalcker, a German researcher, claimed that chlorine dioxide offers a cheap and accessible solution to COVID-19. He was interviewed on the Bolivian national TV channel, RED Gigavision, about MMS, where he said it was effective against the disease.
Kalcker is backed by a group of doctors from the World Coalition for Health and Life (COMUSAV) led by La Paz pediatrician Dr. Patricia Callisperis. Callisperis advocates for the use of chlorine dioxide to treat COVID-19 because of its "oxygenating action at a mitochondrial level."
Callisperis said that Comusav was "testing everything" as there was "no scientific evidence for any medicine or substance proposed in the world" that could treat COVID-19.
She also described MMS as a "natural cure" that taps into the roots of Bolivians.
Bolivian media reports also said that Comusave has previously used MMS to treat patients in Oruro, eastern Bolivia, with the backing of local authorities. Callisperis herself confirmed that Bolivian legislators consulted Comusav about MMS.
She also dismissed reports of harm caused by the substance, saying that media reports were insufficiently rigorous -- she would stop promoting MMS herself if it were shown to have "conclusive" evidence.
Kalcker also said that Comusav's support for chlorine dioxide is compelling evidence that supports its effectiveness.
Kate Centellas, a Croft associate professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at the University of Mississippi said that Bolivia is a country in crisis. She shared that the high level of COVID-19 cases in Bolivia induced panic, and advocating for chlorine dioxide is a way to signal disaffection with political and scientific establishments.
The coronavirus also put additional pressure on the government itself.
"Chlorine dioxide, regardless of whether it is effective or not, is a great thing to fit into that narrative because it's cheap, it makes it look like they're defending the people, and obviously the executive has to block it because it's not healthy," Jhanisse Vaca Daza, a human rights activist. Her group, the Standing Rivers charity, organized efforts to distribute essential medical supplies to Bolivians who don't have access to medical treatment.
"There is so much desperation. We see it firsthand because we are often delivering protective equipment and food. We've seen how desperate people are. So having something that is not only cheap but also accessible seems like the perfect thing you would want to find right now."
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