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Betadine: Some Anti-Vaxxers Now Turn to This Antiseptic to Cure, Prevent COVID-19

Betadine as the new alleged COVID-19 cure. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Some anti-vaxxers gargle the common antiseptic Betadine to cure and prevent the COVID-19. Experts have debunked these assertions, which stem from a purported doctor’s video uploaded on Twitter and Facebook.

Although specialists have warned that swallowing the antiseptic is extremely hazardous, the video has received over 155,000 views. “Doctor recommends strengthening immunity to avoid Covid-19 by gargling povidone-iodine, preventing the virus from entering the lungs #TokMaiTiang,” reads the Thai caption under the video.

The video was extensively circulated on social media, with many people thinking the “doctor” was a registered physician in the film, but AFP soon disproved this claim.

What Is Betadine?

Betadine, or povidone-iodine, is an antiseptic that is widely used to kill germs in wounds and is also used as a douche. It is extensively used as a disinfectant in emergency and operating rooms. A low 0.5 percent Betadine solution may be gargled to relieve a sore throat in certain instances, but the caution label clearly warns that it should not be ingested.

According to a statement on the website, Betadine® Antiseptic First Aid products have not been authorized to treat coronavirus. Betadine recommends people to only use products to help prevent infection from small wounds, scratches, and burns. Antiseptics care not been shown to be useful in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 or other viruses.

The warning clarifies that the antiseptic painful throat gargle should only be used to treat or prevent a sore throat and should not be used to treat or prevent the virus.


Betadine as the new alleged COVID-19 cure. (Photo: Getty Images)

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In addition, health professionals advise that swallowing the antiseptic is both hazardous and ineffective in combating the infection. Iodine toxicity and renal failure may result from ingesting excessive amounts of the topical solution.

Anti-Vaxxers Turning to Social Media To Promote Using Betadine To Prevent COVID-19

Despite the lack of proof and professional cautions, individuals are turning to social media to advocate the use of Betadine to fight COVID-19. Many people say that some studies support the video. However, such studies simply indicate a decrease in tissue samples and no impact on antiviral effectiveness.


According to one Twitter user, nitric oxide nasal spray and betadine iodine gargle have both been proven to significantly decrease viral load in upper respiratory airways and possibly limit virus propagation into lower airways.

COVID-19 prevention and treatment was also the subject of a Twitter thread. This user recommended four times a day using Betadine nasal spray and throat gargle.


Even if you aren’t consuming Betadine, research indicate that gargling the solution won’t assist with viral symptoms – only with sore throats. There is inadequate proof that the antiseptic improves any additional COVID-19 symptoms or stops the virus from spreading.

Nausea, vomiting, overall weakness, and diarrhea are all acute adverse effects of swallowing Betadine or any povidone-iodine antiseptic. Betadine poisoning may cause abrupt renal failure, cardiovascular collapse, liver function impairment, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and even death in extreme instances.

If you think you’ve eaten Betadine gargle, experts suggest getting medical help right once or contacting poison control.

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