A viral video at a wholesaler store in Tangerang city in the province of Banten, near the western border of Jakarta shows Indonesians running towards stacked boxes of the Nestle-owned canned milk, Bear Brand, and placing as much as they can on their grocery carts.
Because of the high demand for the canned milk brand, opportunistic resellers have been selling a can for IDR50K (Php172.24) from its original price of just IDR9K (Php 31.00).
According to coconuts.co Jakarta, the video is likely the result of “unverified information going around in recent days saying that Bear Brand’s sterilized milk boosts the drinker’s production of antibodies that could prevent COVID-19 infection.”
The culprit is a post on a Facebook page that claimed milk can “fight COVID-19 with a glass of milk,” since “cow’s milk contains lactoferrin, which is a protein that helps to fight off viruses.” It added that cow’s milk also “contains Vitamin C and Zinc, which both play important roles in strengthening your immunity.”
The post urged followers to “please like and share to spread the goodness of dairy during this tough time.” And it looks like they did based on the shares (more than 1,400) and the viral video.
Fortunately, a disclaimer has now been placed over the photo used for the particular post that reads: “False information: checked by independent fact checkers.”
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FYI, lactoferrin can be found in cow's milk, but it is the colostrum (yes, the first breast milk you produce after giving birth) that has the highest amounts of lactoferrin. It is thought to be what helps protect breast-fed babies from infections.
However, While studies do show lactoferrin may help boost the body's immune function and fight infections, there is no scientific evidence to say milk will protect or cure one from COVID-19.
CNBC Indonesia reported that the COVID-19 Task Force of the Indonesian Physicians Association (IDI) chairman, Professor Zubairi Djoerban, has denied that Bear Brand’s milk could cure COVID-19. The content in milk cannot kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 in the body.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth populous nation, has been battling the second wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant. It set a record high of 31,189 new cases reported on July 6, 2021 alone.