Dettol maker blasts Trump’s claims
The maker of popular disinfectant brands Lysol and Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser, has been forced to issue a statement warning people not to inject their products after President Trump's outlandish claims.
"Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus," the company said.
"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).
"As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information."
On Thursday, President Trump suggested patients could be blasted with UV light or injected with disinfectant to help rid themselves of COVID-19 in claims that have been widely dismissed as dangerous and outlandish.
Trump made these suggestions during a White House press briefing after William Bryan, acting undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, gave a presentation on new research into how long the virus can survive when exposed to different elements or chemicals.
He said that initial tests show that UV light and chemicals such as bleach and rubbing alcohol can quickly eradicate the virus.
"Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus both surfaces and in the air," Bryan said.
"Bleach will kill the virus in five minutes. Isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds. You rub it and it goes away faster."
Trump suggested that they test whether these treatments could be used on or in the human body to get rid of the virus.
"We hit the body with a tremendous … whether it is ultra violet or just very powerful light. I think you said that hasn't been checked but you are going to test it?" he asked Bryan.
"And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you are going to test that too?"
Bryan responded to the President by telling him they would "get the right folks who could" do the testing.
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump continued
"Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.
"It sounds interesting so we will see. But the whole concept of the light and the way it kills it in one minute, that's pretty powerful."
Trumps suggestions have been lashed by health professionals, with pulmonologist and global health policy expert Dr Vin Gupta slamming his comments as "dangerous".
"This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it's dangerous," Dr Gupta told NBC News.
"Any amount of bleach or isopropyl alcohol or any kind of common household cleaner is inappropriate for ingestion even in small amounts. Small amounts are deadly."
Here is Dr. Birx's reaction when President Trump asks his science advisor to study using UV light on the human body and injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/MVno5X7JMA— Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
As a physician, I can’t recommend injecting disinfectant into the lungs or using UV radiation inside the body to treat COVID-19. Don’t take medical advice from Trump. https://t.co/YcZXJXfSxu— Kashif Mahmood (@kashmood) April 23, 2020
Do not put disinfectant inside of your body that’s bad for you. Use the disinfectant on potentially contaminated surfaces. Let me know if you’ve got any further questions.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 23, 2020
Following the news about the possible impacts of UV light and heat on the virus, Trump called on US citizens to go out and "enjoy the sun".
"I hope people enjoy the sun, and if it has an impact that's great," he said during the daily briefing.
"I once mentioned that maybe it does go away with heat and light. And people didn't like that statement that much."
The president has often talked up prospects for new therapies and offered rosy timelines for the development of a vaccine.
Earlier in the month, scientific advisers told the White House there's no good evidence yet that the heat and humidity of summer will rein in the virus without continued public health measures.
Researchers convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analysed studies done so far to test virus survival under different laboratory conditions as well as tracking where and how COVID-19 has spread so far.
"Given that countries currently in 'summer' climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," the researchers wrote earlier in April in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology.
In addition, the report cited the global lack of immunity to the new virus and concluded, "if there is an effect of temperature and humidity on transmission, it may not be as apparent as with other respiratory viruses for which there is at least some pre-existing partial immunity."
They noted that during 10 previous flu pandemics, regardless of what season they started, all had a peak second wave about six months after the virus first emerged.
In March, Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organisation's emergencies chief. said, "We have to assume that the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread, and it's a false hope to say yes, it will just disappear in the summertime like influenza."
Originally published as Dettol maker blasts Trump's claims