One state’s emergency management agency and the maker of a popular household disinfectant warned people to not ingest or inject the substances after President Trump mused at a Thursday briefing about research that the substances could kill COVID-19.
The coronavirus task force briefing at the White House included a presentation from DHS S&T Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology Bill Bryan on research the department has been conducting on the virus. “Within the conditions we have tested to date the virus in droplets of saliva survives best in indoors and dry conditions,” Bryan said, noting that “increasing the temperature and humidity of potentially contaminated indoor spaces appears to reduce the stability of the virus and extra care may be warranted for dry environments that do not have exposure to solar light.”
“We are also testing disinfectants, readily available. We have tested bleach, we have tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus specifically in saliva or respiratory fluids — I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes, isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds and that is with no manipulation no rubbing, just spring it on and leaving it go. You rub it and it goes away even faster. We are also looking at other disinfectants specifically looking at the COVID-19 virus in saliva,” Bryan said. “This is not the end of our work as we continue to characterize this virus and integrate our findings into practical applications to mitigate exposure and transmission.”
Trump took the podium after Bryan. “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 are 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 said you were going to test that too. It sounds interesting,” Trump said.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning,” the president 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. So that you are going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me so we will see. But the whole concept of the light the way it kills it in one minute –that’s pretty powerful.”
Reckitt Benckiser Group, the parent company of Lysol, issued a statement noting that “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 (SARS-CoV-2).”
“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),” the company said. “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.”
“We have a responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts,” the company added, directing people to their page on coronavirus facts and myths.
Mike Ricci, communications director for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, tweeted that the state had to issue its own warning against injection or ingestion of disinfectants “after receiving more than 100 calls to our hotline” asking about the use of the products against COVID-19.
“This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route,” the Maryland Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.