Bolivia has been plagued with unrest since protesters took to the streets following a potential veto of what some are hailing as a "miracle mineral solution" cure for the novel coronavirus. A law allowing the sale of the solution was recently approved by both houses of Parliament in the country but still needs to be signed into law by the president. However, experts are warning that not only is the so-called elixir ineffective against COVID-19, but it is also likely toxic for human consumption.
According to Business Insider, the new bill allows for the "production, commercialization and supply of chlorine dioxide solution to prevent COVID-19 and as a treatment for sick patients."
However, the science behind the solution does not necessarily support claims that it is an effective treatment. The main ingredient, chlorine dioxide, is a disinfectant mainly used in industrial settings to bleach paper to its standard bright white color.
Though the chemical could potentially kill a virus, its efficacy has not been tested. Moreover, even if the Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) should work, it would come with severe side effects.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, chlorine dioxide could lead to severe vomiting, serious gastrointestinal distress, acute liver failure, and even a drop in blood pressure that could be fatal.
As a result of such reported consequences, Bolivia's own Ministry of Health has warned against the product.
On its website, the ministry claimed that the elixir "puts the health of the population that consumes or intends to do so at serious risk."
There have also been reports of civilians being hospitalized or otherwise injured from digesting the mixture.
But despite these risks, the public still appears to have an appetite for the product, which has become the subject of conspiracy theories throughout South America as a cure-all for not only the coronavirus, but also a multitude of other ailments.
Though the bill just passed through the second of Bolivia's chambers, it still needs to be signed into law by the president, like in the U.S.
Health experts are hoping that Bolivian leader Jeanine Añez will accordingly veto the measure.
However, the country's political situation is in a precarious state. The legislature is dominated by the far-left, which also used to control the presidency. The conservative Añez only assumed office after an investigation revealed election fraud.
Vetoing the popular bill would thus spark a partisan battle during a time when the country needs unity as it continues to fight the growing pandemic. Already, agitators have blocked roads as the liberal party continues to exert pressure to allow the sale of MMS.
"You have a political class completely divided, and a left-wing opposition arguing it [COVID-19] is a plot, an imperialist plot designed to disarm the Bolivian people and stop the election taking place," explained Richard Lapper, a Latin America expert at London's Chatham House think tank.
The unrest has only worsened since Añez attempted to postpone Bolivia's general election, citing the virus.
In other South American related news, Brazil has come under attack for hiding some of its coronavirus casualty numbers, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.