Hyderabad: A video that is doing the rounds of WhatsApp claims that Italy defied WHO guidelines and conducted an autopsy of a COVID-19 patient. It has reportedly found that COVID-19 is not a virus but a bacteria. The video also claims that the novel corona virus causes blood clotting. Ventilators are not needed to treat the COVID-19 "bacteria", it further says.

Similar messages are also being shared on Facebook.

NewsMeter received a request to fact-check the claims made in the video.

Fact Check:

The first claim, that Italy violated WHO rule and conducted an autopsy on a COVID-19 dead, is false. The WHO has not said that countries cannot do an autopsy on the bodies of COVID-19 victims. In fact, on 20 March 2020, it had issued guidelines on precautions to be taken while conducting autopsies, burial and mortuary handling of COVID-19 victims. The guideline did not prohibit autopsies.

The second claim: COVID-19 is a bacteria. According to the WHO, COVID-19 belongs to a large family of viruses called coronavirus which affects both humans and animals. But COVID-19 could cause a bacterial infection for which antibiotics are suggested. Viruses, on the other hand, cannot be killed by an antibiotic, the WHO said.

The third claim is that COVID-19 causes a condition called thrombosis (blood clot) which leads to death. Research has shown that COVID-19 causes acute blood clots which combined with severe pneumonia can cause death.

Moreover, the WHO has suggested using low molecular-weight Heparin to reduce incidences of venous thromboembolism in COVID-19 patients. It is a condition in which blood clots form more frequently in veins on the legs and also in the lungs leading to pulmonary thrombosis.

The next claim is that ventilators are not needed to treat corona virus patients. While it is known that all COVID-19 patients don't need ventilators, some with severe pulmonary disease do require them. According to a Lancet study, critically-ill patients need ventilators and lack of ventilators could lead to increased deaths.

Hence, the claims made in the video and the messages circulating in social media are mostly false and misleading.

Claim Review :   Video claiming Italy discovered COVID-19 is bacteria not virus
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  Misleading

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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