TL;DR: Drinking Tonic Water will not save you from Coronavirus and Covid-19.
…but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a gin and tonic to pass the time. And there’s certainly going to be a lot of it (time, I mean).
In early 2020, a group of Chinese scientists published a paper based on some small sample-size observations that suggested that hydroxychloroquine warrants future study based on some interesting observations and interactions with the coronavirus responsible for causing Covid-19.
Further studies are being conducted.
But Gin and Tonic drinkers are out of luck. Hyrdoxychloroquine is not only not quinine— it’s really not even close. It’s a synthetic compound that has similar mechanisms for action. It’s also far more effective than plain old quinine. So while quinine inspired the research that led to the development of drugs like Hydroxychloroquine— it is not the same thing as Hydroxychloroquine. And therefore, it’s not in tonic water.
And even if it was— the amount of quinine in your tonic water is so far below the thresholds for medicinal action— that you can’t even suggest drinking tonic water in good faith for preventing or curing Malaria. And that’s one drug we know works.
Tonic water’s medicinal origins are true. But those medicinal tinctures of the 18th century bore absolutely no resemblance to a glass of Schweppes.
The original study merely suggests this as a path for further research.
To sum up the story so far: there is no rigorous scientific evidence to suggest that any quinine related drug is suitable for treating Covid-19. There is no evidence that the drug cited in the paper has any meaningful impact on patients suffering from Covid-19.
For those of you (who like me) who miss sports dearly, let’s try a metaphor. With the second-to-last pick of the last round your favorite team drafted a player. During the press conference after the draft, the GM said, “I think there’s a chance that she could be one of the greatest to ever play the game.” So there’s a possibility? Yes. years of training. Lots of extra work: hours in the weight room, film study etc. And even then: she might still not make it. She might not even ever make a professional team.
We all want hope during these times. So hope. Follow her journey and see what happens. But as of today? She’s not even a pro player let alone an all-star. She’s just one of a number of prospects that scientists the world around have drafted this past offseason.
One of them somewhere will make it.
Gin and Tonics to get you through this
We’re drinking too much during this crisis. Waaaaay too much. So I suggest drinking a light gin and tonic to take your mind off of the news for a bit, rather than using it as your coping mechanism.
Need less (not more) quinine in your life? Try Bengal Bay Tonic with a nice juniper forward gin.
Want to taste spring? Try a floral gin like Hendrick’s Midsommer with an elderflower tonic water.
Or just want a G&T that your grocery and liquor delivery service definitely can’t fuck up? A timeless Gordon’s Gin and Schweppes Tonic will get the job done.