U.S. President Donald Trump has once again turned the international spotlight onto himself with a bizarre coronavirus-related ramble.
This time it involved the president's public musing that people could receive injections of disinfectant to cure Covid-19.
"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute," said Trump at a White House Covid-19 briefing on Apr. 23.
He also said: "And is there a way we can do something like that, by 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."
Moments earlier, Trump seemingly proposed a form of treatment using "ultraviolet (UV) or just a very powerful light" to "hit the body" of Covid-19 patients.
According to the BBC, the president then turned Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator and said: "... and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it."
Brix remained silent, as Trump continued undeterred: "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're going to test that too. Sounds interesting."
Killing the virus in as little as 30 seconds
At the same White House briefing, William Bryan — acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate — had presented research that found evidence of solar light, heat, and humidity causing the virus to die rapidly, reported The New York Times.
The same study also found that bleach could kill the virus and isopropyl alcohol could kill the virus in as little as 30 seconds.
The BBC reported that Trump noted that the findings should be treated with caution, before optimistically suggesting further research into related treatments.
According to The New York Times, Trump was later questioned by a reporter on whether his proposed treatments might be dangerous.
Making his irritation known, the president then turned to Birx, seeking affirmation on the success of sunlight as a treatment against viruses.
"Not as a treatment," Birx was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
She also said: "I mean, certainly fever is a good thing when you have a fever. It helps your body respond. But not as — I have not seen heat or..."
"I think that's a great thing to look at," said Trump, cutting her off.
A common method to kill someone
Others have been more condemning in their assessment of Trump's latest idea.
Speaking to NBC, pulmonologist and global health policy expert Vin Gupta labelled the notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleaning product "irresponsible" and "dangerous": "It's a common method that people utilise when they want to kill themselves."
A BBC report published in March dismissed the idea of using UV light on humans.
"You would literally be frying people,” said Dan Arnold, who works for a company supplying UV disinfecting equipment to hospitals in the UK.
According to Arnold, the type of UV needed to disinfect equipment (UVC) would cause a human being to be sunburnt within seconds: "UVC is really nasty stuff — you shouldn't be exposed to it."
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the maker of disinfectants Lysol and Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) has warned against using their products to treat Covid-19 patients.
The statement, published on RB.L's website wrote:
"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."
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