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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating Covid-19?

The World Health Organization says antibiotics do not cure or prevent Covid-19.
The World Health Organization says antibiotics do not cure or prevent Covid-19.
Image: 123RF/ktsdesign

Antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat Covid-19 because they don’t work against viruses, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of Covid-19 in severely ill patients.

“Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. Covid-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of Covid-19.

“In hospitals, physicians will sometimes use antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of Covid-19 in severely ill patients.

"They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection,” said the organisation. 

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says adopting non-pharmaceutical measures such as maintaining social distancing, hand washing and self-isolation when sick, as well as vaccination, are more effective in providing protection against Covid-19. 

 


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