Dettol and Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser has issued advice telling people not to ingest its products “under any circumstances” after President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectants to treat coronavirus.
Reckitt Benckiser 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.”
The medical community has resoundingly criticised US President Donald Trump for proposing disinfectant injections and UV radiation as methods for treating coronavirus.
At Thursday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, Trump said there was new government research that claims the coronavirus is killed by disinfectant and sunlight.
“I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump exclaimed. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something by an injection inside or almost a cleaning?
“Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”
In a widely-shared video, Dr Deborah Birx, the task force response coordinator, appeared to look stunned as the President made these remarks.
Ingesting a disinfectant is incredibly dangerous.
Later on in the briefing, Trump turned to William Bryan, the acting homeland security undersecretary for science and technology, with an equally extraordinary proposal concerning UV radiation.
“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light – and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.
“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’re going to test that too?” Trump added.
Overexposure to UV rays is known to damage skin cells and cause skin cancer.
And it remains unclear whether sunlight has much of an impact on coronavirus, since some of the worst-affected areas in the United States have warm climates, such as New Orleans.
When Washington Post reporter Phillip Rucker challenged Trump on his scientifically-unfounded ideas, the US leader retorted: “I’m the President and you’re fake news.”
Public health doctors have expressed outrage at Trump’s bizarre treatments.
“This is an absolutely dangerous crazy suggestion,” said Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.
“You may not die of Covid-19 after injecting disinfectant, but only because you may already be dead from the injection,” Dr Hunter added.
Joe Biden, Trump’s expected challenger in the upcoming presidential election, responded to the comments in a tweet, saying: “UV light? Injecting disinfectant? Here’s an idea, Mr President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals.”
Trump already angered the medical community earlier this month when he offered his support of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria treatment, as a therapy for Covid-19.
There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment and it can have serious side effects.
Referring to the malarial drug, Parastou Donyai, director of pharmacy practice and the University of Reading, said: “We have already seen people mistakenly poisoning themselves by taking chloroquine when their hopes were raised by unscientific comments.”
Public health officials are now thought to be concerned by the impact Trump’s latest comments may have, as the search for a medically-proven vaccine or drug is still in its early stages.
The US continues to be the hardest-hit country by coronavirus. The latest death toll stands at 50,372.