New Delhi: Ever since the second wave of coronavirus wreaked havoc in India, a lot of misinformation and false rumours have surfaced online. Now, many media reports quoting a CSIR survey is going viral on social media platforms claiming that smokers and vegetarians are less vulnerable to COVID-19. The survey suggested that despite Covid-19 being a respiratory disease, smoking may be protective due to its role in increasing the mucous production that may be acting as the first line of defence among the smoking population. It also indicated that vegetarian food rich in fibre may have a role to play in providing immunity against COVID-19.Also Read - Coronavirus Vaccine For Smokers: Research Says Those Who Smoke Should Get COVID Jab on Priority

However, on Monday, Press Information Bureau while quoting CSIR clarified that presently, no conclusion can be drawn based on the serological studies that vegetarian diet and smoking may protect from COVID19. The CSIR said it has not issued any press note regarding this claim.

In a tweet, PIB wrote, ”Media reports claim that @CSIR_IND survey reveals smokers & vegetarians are less vulnerable to #COVID19 #PIBFactCheck: Presently, NO conclusion can be drawn based on the serological studies that vegetarian diet & smoking may protect from #COVID19.”

”The negative association with smoking has been reported elsewhere, but not shown to be causal. Further exploration is necessary before reaching any conclusions, especially since seropositivity is an imperfect marker of infection-risk and may equally well be explained by altered antibody response and dynamics,” CSIR clarified.

The Press Information Bureau launched this fact-checking arm in December 2019, to curb misinformation and fake news prevalent on the internet. It claimed that its objective was “to identify misinformation related to government’s policies and schemes that are circulating on various social media platforms”.  The government has time and again warned people about such misinformation and asked them to only believe trusted sources.