Over the weekend, two doctors in Thailand said that they had seen some encouraging test results after using a combination of an anti-flu drug and two HIV medications to treat a 71-year-old coronavirus patient. The docs, who both work at the Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok, said that within two days of receiving that combo, the woman's symptoms showed marked improvement.
"We checked related information and found anti-flu drugs were effective on [Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS] so we combined both groups of medications," Dr. Kriangsak Atipornwanich told the Bangkok Post. “After poor lab tests for 10 days, the test finally turned positive after 48 hours of administering the medications. The treatment, as well as the recovery, is fast."
The South China Morning Post reports that doctors in China have proposed a similar combination of antivirals and HIV medications. Other non-medical professionals have opted to treat themselves with Shuanghuanglian—a blend of Chinese skullcap, Japanese honeysuckle, and weeping forsythia—despite the fact that there's no evidence that it actually works (and plenty of evidence that it can cause diarrhea.)
But one 25-year-old British man says that all he needed to get rid of his own case of coronavirus was a bottle of whisky. Connor Reed told The Sun that he was diagnosed with the virus two months ago, and spent two weeks in the Zhongnan University Hospital in Wuhan, China.
"'I was stunned when the doctors told me I was suffering from the virus. I thought I was going to die but I managed to beat it," he said. "I used the inhaler which helped control the cough and drank a hot whisky with honey until that ran out. It’s an old fashioned remedy, but it seemed to do the trick."
Reed, who moved to China three years ago to teach English, is believed to be the first Brit to contract the virus, which is both a weird thing to commemorate and also probably worth a free round of drinks the next time he goes back to Wales (assuming that we eventually reach a point when "Let me tell you about my coronavirus" is a less-terrifying conversation starter.)
He admits that he refused the antibiotics the doctors prescribed him because he "didn't want to take any medicines," and that's probably not as dumb as it sounds. In a lengthy Twitter thread that covers a lot of coronavirus FAQs, the World Health Organization Western Pacific wrote that because coronavirus is a virus and not just a clever name, antibiotics will neither prevent or treat it. (It also said that pneumonia vaccines, eating garlic, snorting saline solution, and coating your body in sesame oil are also ineffective remedies.)
Reed confirmed that he contacted the British Foreign Office to tell them that he'd been diagnosed with the virus, but he declined its offer to send him back home. On Tuesday, that same Foreign Office issued a statement advising all British nationals to leave China and said that it would work to evacuate any of its citizens from Wuhan or the Hubei province.
"They kept asking if I wanted a place on a flight out but I said no," he said. " I’ll stick it out here. I am proof coronavirus can be beaten."
Proof is probably a strong word, but nobody's gonna judge if you put a bottle of Johnny Walker in your medicine cabinet. You know, for emergencies.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.