December 9, 2022

No, Paracetamol P-500 does not contain a deadly virus.

A viral social media post picks up on an old misrepresentation that the drug contains a rare South American virus.

The post circulated in Namibian social media spaces throughout March 2022, but the claim has been circulating on social media for about five years.

The post warns people against using “paracetamol which is spelled P-500” because “doctors advise that it contains the ‘Machupo’ virus, which is ‘considered one of the most dangerous viruses in the world’. world, with a high mortality rate.” The false claim is used to discourage people from using the specific targeted drug.

The viral post falsely claiming that a painkiller contains a deadly South American virus.

The false claim went particularly viral in Namibian WhatsApp groups and spaces, and when it came to the attention of Namibia Fact Check it had already been “transmitted several times”.

Message history

According to what Namibia Fact Check may become established, the post has been circulating in several Namibian Facebook spaces since March 2017, such as this Facebook post March 20, 2017.

The message is labeled as “false information” on Facebook.

The post’s Facebook rating.

The same message was debunked by Malaysian health authorities and in India, by The Hindu in February 2017. Other Asian fact checkers also debunked the false claim around this time.


the Machupo virus causes Bolivian hemorrhagic fever. The virus is carried by a species of rodent native to Bolivia. There have been a number of outbreaks of Machupo virus in parts of Bolivia since the early 1950s, but these outbreaks have been largely limited to specific areas of that country, according to the literature on the virus.

False claims about the spread of a dangerous or deadly virus through medical or pharmaceutical interventions, such as pills or vaccines, exploit people’s real fears of viral outbreaks, especially in the context of the pandemic. of ongoing COVID-19, and seek to undermine trust in the medical world. and interventions and pharmaceuticals.