FDA issues warning about phony drugs claiming to treat or prevent coronavirus

Advertisements are circulating for drugs claiming to treat or prevent coronavirus, but the Food and Drug Administration is warning that they are fraudulent products.

The agency sent warning letters to seven companies that are selling the unapproved drugs, trying to cash in on public fear.

Some of the names of the drugs include "Coronavirus Cell Protection," "Coronavirus Immune System" and "Coronavirus Boneset Tea."

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Officials say the products not only violate federal law, but they could pose a significant health risk.

The FDA stressed there is currently no drug approved to treat the virus, which has infected more than 121,000 people worldwide and killed over 4,300.

In the U.S., the caseload passed 1,000, and outbreaks on both sides of the country stirred concern. In Southern California, health officials announced Wednesday the first coronavirus death in Los Angeles County along with several new cases, bringing the county's total number of cases to 27.

Expressing alarm both about mounting infections and inadequate government responses, the World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic but added that it's not too late for countries to act.

By reversing course and using the charged word "pandemic" that it previously shied away from, the U.N. health agency sought to shock lethargic countries into pulling out all the stops.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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