FACT CHECK: Does Garlic Kill COVID-19?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Twitter purports garlic is more effective at killing the COVID-19 virus in humans than vaccines.

Verdict: Misleading

The post misrepresents a study from the Doherty Institute examining Australian-grown garlic varieties’ potential antiviral activity against viruses that cause COVID-19 and influenza type A. The Institute released a clarifying statement on Jun. 1 indicating the study was not tested in humans, so further investigation is needed.

Fact Check:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended updating COVID-19 boosters to offer protection against the XBB.1.5 strain of the virus this fall, according to NBC News. The XBB.1.5 strain is derived from the omicron variant, The Associated Press reported.

“GARLIC How stupid must the world feel today having wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on useless [vaccines] and destroyed trillions of dollars of wealth with panicked lockdowns- when its now discovered that garlic kills Covid,” the Twitter post, viewed over 500,000 times, purports. The post includes a link to a May 31 Financial Review article that references the study conducted by the Doherty Institute.

The claim is misleading, as it misrepresents the study. A May 31 press release indicates the Doherty Institute conducted a study examining Australian-grown garlic varieties’ potential antiviral activity against viruses that cause COVID-19 and influenza type A. The release also indicates the study was commissioned by Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd (AGP) and involved in-vitro testing only.

The study was conducted by extracting the proprietary garlic ingredient from each of the different varieties of plants. The varieties that showed the most efficacy are being commercialized by AGP, according to the release.

A Jun. 1 statement from the Doherty Institute clarified the study’s findings, noting that none of the testing had been done on humans, and as a result, further investigation is needed.

“The Doherty Institute frequently evaluates the antiviral properties of products under paid contracts with commercial entities.

“Recent work, commissioned by the company Australian Garlic Producers (AGP), involved in-vitro testing only of a range of garlic extracts to investigate potential antiviral activity against two viruses.”

“The findings of this lab-based study, released by AGP, do not show medical treatment application. Stringent clinical trials would need to be conducted to determine if these findings translate from test tubes to humans,” the statement read.

The Financial Review article also states that the study only conducted in-vitro testing. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes in-vitro testing as “in glass,” or testing that occurs in test tubes or similar equipment. (RELATED: Has The COVID-19 Virus Stopped Mutating?)

Both the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend individuals get vaccinated to protect themselves against the COVID-19 virus.

Check Your Fact contacted the Doherty Institute for comment and they directed us to the statement posted on their website.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter