PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba's advice to Malaysians to drink warm water to "flush" virus down to the stomach, where digestive acids will kill any virus, has come under question.
The Health Minister appeared on RTM's Bicara Naratif programme on Thursday (March 19) night and claimed that the virus cannot take heat, and that the warm water would also flush virus into the stomach.
"Do not drink water that is not boiled. Drink a glass of water that is warm because the virus does not like warm things. Make sure (the water) is not too hot.
"The virus will go down (the oesophagus) and when it reaches the stomach which has acids, the virus dies. That's how we eliminate the virus.
"What's important is that we have to kill the virus in our throats before it reaches our lungs.
"This virus, it likes the lower part of the lungs. It likes to stay there. That's why it is said that this virus loves human beings," he said.
Dr Adham's remarks have since gone viral on social media platforms with many questioning his advice.
Dr Nur Amalina Che Bakri, a Malaysian surgeon based in the United Kingdom rebutted Dr Adham's claims, explaining that there was no evidence to suggest that acid in the stomach can kill the virus.
She noted, however, that drinking water was good as it keeps a person hydrated but clarified that it does not "inactivate the virus in any way".
She said heat of 60°C can inactivate the virus outside the body, but drinking a warm glass of water would not help once the virus has entered the body.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan also questioned Dr Adham's advice.
"If this is correct, I think this is a great life hack that everyone should know," he tweeted on Friday (March 20).
Former deputy youth and sports minister Steven Sim urged the Health Ministry to verify and confirm Dr Adham's claims.
"In this crisis, I hope @KKMPutrajaya can verify the Health Minister's claims that drinking a warm glass of water can deter the virus in the stomach and can be eliminated with stomach acid.
"The people need the real facts to protect themselves," the Bukit Mertajam MP said.
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