British drink-mixer makerFevertree Drinks Plc says that its products should be used for making cocktails, not as a potential remedy for the novel coronavirus that has infected millions of people around the world.
Customers have been asking whether there’s a similarity between the quinine ingredient used in Fevertree’s high end tonics and anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by some —including U.S. President Donald Trump — as a possible treatment. “There is no proven scientific evidence that quinine or hydroxychloroquine can protect against or treat Covid-19,” Fevertreesaid on its website. “We would not advise using our tonic water for anything other than making a tasty drink to keep your spirits up during this difficult time.”
The quinine that’s used in Fevertree’s tonic is naturally derived from the bark of the Cinchona tree, while hydroxychloroquine is a synthetically manufactured drug used to treat malaria, the company said in a new section on its website that was created to answer questions it has been getting. Quinine was mixed with gin by British officers in India in the 1800s to ward off malaria, creating the ubiquitous gin and tonic cocktail.
“Hydroxychloroquine and quinine are completely unrelated,” said Redburn analyst Simon Baker. “I’ve seen zero data to suggest quinine would be effective or not against Covid-19.” As for hydroxychloroquine, the analyst said it is too early to determine its effectiveness. “The efficacy data so far have been mixed and there are certain side effects, mainly cardiovascular.” In astudy of 150 hospitalized patients by doctors at 16 centers in China, hydroxychloroquine didn’t help patients clear the virus better than standard care.
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