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With fake information about COVID-19 in abundance on social media and even news wires, a smartphone app called Healthinote has been launched to provide reliable information about the pandemic.

The app – developed by Cognitant using information from the NHS, medical charities, universities and pharmaceutical companies – promises to provide “credible, usable and verified” advice to help people understand the coronavirus and its symptoms.

Cognitant says Healthinote has up-to-date information on COVID-19 – as well as other diseases and treatment options – that can “help people cut through information from unofficial sources.”

The app includes more than 1,100 health articles from the NHS official website, plus additional materials provided by Bayer, Pfizer, UCB, and The Health Foundation, amongst other organisations.

It also makes use of immersive tech like 3D and virtual reality (VR) content to help patients understand symptoms, says Cognitant.

The launch takes place just as President Donald Trump has been lambasted by doctors after making off-the-cuff remarks at a press conference suggesting research should be undertaken on injecting disinfectant into the body or irradiating patients’ bodies with ultraviolet light.

The comments followed the presentation of research showing that outside the body the virus appears to be denatured more quickly when exposed to UV, bleach or isopropyl alcohol.

Last month, a US couple poisoned themselves after they tried to self-medicate with a product used to treat fish for parasites containing chloroquine phosphate, shortly after Trump said chloroquine could be a “total game-changer” at another press conference. The EMA meanwhile has just issued a warning about the drug’s safety.

Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has been forced to introduce controls on message forwarding to stop users disseminating erroneous rumours relating to the virus.

That includes the claim that COVID-19 is somehow linked to the 5G network, which has resulted in dozens of incidents in which 5G masts have been vandalised.

“More than ever, it’s vital for everyone to have access to trustworthy, up-to-date and verified health and medical information,” says Cognitant’s chief executive Dr Tim Ringrose.

“We built Healthinote to improve the way patients receive their health information and to combat misinformation found online, in the media and friends and family.”

The content on Healthinote – which is available on Android And iOS – can be prescribed to patients by their doctor at the point of care, which should boost confidence in the information provided, according to Cognitant.