After a Thursday presentation suggested the coronavirus could be killed by disinfectants and didn’t survive as long in hot and humid temperatures, President Donald Trump wanted to know if it was possible to inject a disinfectant into an infected person or hit the body with a strong light to kill off the virus.
Trump questioned the possibility of exploring those options are treatments during a coronavirus press briefing, The Washington Post reports.
"I see the disinfectant that 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? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” the president said.
His remarks about using an unnamed disinfectant to kill the virus came after acting undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security Bill Bryan gave a presentation on research indicating the virus doesn’t survive as long in warm and humid temperatures and could be killed by bleach and alcohol on surfaces.
"The virus dies quickest in sunlight,” Bryan said.
So Trump questioned if the virus could be treated by bringing light "inside the body.”
"So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it's ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn't been checked because of the testing," Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. "And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that, too.”
Bryan said bleach killed the virus in about five minutes and isopropyl alcohol killed it in 30 seconds.
Trump’s suggestions of looking into using disinfectant to treat the virus prompted Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol, to issue a warning on its website.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
Trump's comments also led doctors to post warnings on social media advising people of the harmful effects of ingesting toxic disinfectant.
“My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea,” Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told The Washington Post.
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