Viral Story on Kimchi Helping Lower Risk of COVID Deaths Turns Out to be Not Proven

Mid-July, a story published in a couple of websites went viral online, with claims that a study revealed that kimchi “helped lower COVID-19 fatalities”. It was an exciting news for a while, especially for lovers of this fermented vegetable dish. But, unfortunately, the news turned out to not be entirely true, as warned by social media platforms like Instagram. Posts about the viral story are currently censored on the platform, with a disclaimer and a link to a debunking article by

KImchi Portuguese Gravity 720

Kimchi. Photo: Portuguese Gravity via Unsplash

The study the viral story was referring to was conducted by a team of researchers in France, led by Dr. Jean Bousquet, an honorary professor at Pulmonary Medicine at Montpellier University. According to the study, its aim was “to test the potential role of fermented foods in COVID-19 mortality in Europe.” But they also wrote in the research that their study was restricted to European countries, and even explicitly stated that “its results cannot be extrapolated to other regions.”

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Although the study was exploring the connection that regions with low COVID-19 mortality rate “also exhibit a large consumption of fermented foods,” they also stated the following, which suggests that their theory needs further confirmation:

We acknowledge that many factors may play a role in the extension and severity of COVID-19, such as trained immunity of the population, early and fast education, rapid organization and adaptation of the hospitals and the public, preparedness for pandemics and public hygiene. Diet represents only one of the possible causes of the COVID-19 epidemic and its importance needs to be better assessed.

The study appeared on a free online archive for unpublished manuscripts called medRxiv, which clearly discloses that their content are “preliminary reports of work that have not been certified” and “should not be reported in news media as established information.”

Did you see that viral news? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments!

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