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March 26, 2020

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2 held over virus cake cure scam

Two men have been accused of selling cakes which they claimed contained medicine to treat the novel coronavirus disease, Shanghai police said yesterday.

Police in Yangpu District started their investigation in late February after noticing someone was selling cakes on the Internet which claimed to contain Ritonavir, a drug said to be effective for patients infected with the coronavirus.

Ritonavir is usually prescribed by doctors to treat HIV/AIDS and is not meant to be used as a food ingredient.

Police said a man, surnamed Yu, who claimed to have access to Ritonavir through work connections, was behind the scam.

But police say he has neither a background in the medical industry nor qualifications to produce or sell medicines.

Yu purchased normal cakes and food additives starting in mid-February, while another suspect, a man surnamed Zhong, helped him with packaging and transporting the products.

Yu and Zhong used bitter additives in the cakes to make them taste “more like medicine,” police said.


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