Dark Web Becomes Hot Spot for Anti-COVID-19 Products

A new ANU study has revealed dubious COVID-19 ‘vaccines,’ antivirals, and PPE for sale on THE dark web as WHO warns against self-medication.

  • By externalwire | April 30, 2020,3:07 pm
Dark Web Becomes Hot Spot for Anti-COVID-19 Products

A new study has found alleged coronavirus cures such as trial vaccines and blood plasma harvested from recovered patients are among hundreds of coronavirus-related “products” being hawked on the infamous dark web. 

The Australian National University (ANU) study, released on April 30, revealed criminals are trying to “cash in” on global fear and pandemic shortages by selling often stolen and unsafe items on darknet markets.

The academics analyzed 20 “darknet markets’ and found 645 listings of COVID-19 related products on the underground marketplace, which is often used by criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorists who hide under layers of deep encryption. 

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology researchers, one of the most disturbing discoveries was blood plasma purportedly harvested from recovered Chinese COVID-19 patients being marketed as a ‘passive vaccine.’

“The word I think is passive vaccination, where the blood plasma of a recovered COVID-19 patient is harvested for the antibodies and that is then used to inject into someone who may be at risk of COVID-19,” study lead Professor Rod Broadhurst told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an interview on April 30

Broadhurst said the study also found a number of unsafe vaccines, antivirals that are currently in short supply, and bulk offerings of personal protective equipment (PPE) most likely stolen directly from factories, up for sale on the dark web. 

“The biosecurity hazardous products are the most dangerous because some are marketed as if they have been leaked from real trials. But, they could be fake and we don’t know what they are made from,” the Australian Institute of Criminology academic said.

The ANU team found one-third of the items they saw listed were, “anti-viral or repurposed medicines,” while 10 % were drugs touted as ‘vaccines.’

The purported ‘vaccines,’ many of which are fake and have dubious compositions, are being sold for $575 on average but the most expensive was listed at  $24,598 while others supposedly from China were on the market for over $23, 000. 

“Fake vaccines could assist in the spread of the virus because users may behave as if they are immune but nevertheless become exposed to the coronavirus,” Broadhurst said, adding that many experimental drugs sold on the black-market also have “lots of nasty side effects.”

Social media is another major source of unfounded virus remedies and cures. In Iran, hundreds have died from drinking alcohol to protect themselves from COVID-19 and in recent days an aspirin, lemon juice , and warm water recipe that allegedly cures the virus has been making the rounds on Facebook, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported

The misleading home remedy has prompted the World Health Organization to once again warn people against self-medication. 

“WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19,” a spokesperson told AFP on April 29.  

“While some home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease,” the spokesperson added. 

While not as nefarious or dangerous as the ‘vaccines’ being marketed on the dark web, this useless home remedy is just another example of the information war that global health authorities are fighting alongside the novel coronavirus. 

 

 

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