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Lysol maker says don’t ingest disinfectants to treat coronavirus after Trump asks whether injecting it will work

The maker of Lysol and former head of the Food and Drug Administration warned Friday against consuming or injecting disinfectants after President Donald Trump asked whether injecting disinfectants into the body can be used to treat Covid-19.

Consuming disinfectants is very dangerous and can even be fatal, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday.

Trump’s comments came after Homeland Security official Bill Bryan presented new findings that showed the ability of disinfectants to kill the coronavirus on surfaces. Bryan said bleach will kill the virus in five minutes when applied to surfaces and isopropyl alcohol kills the virus in 30 seconds.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute. One minute,” Trump said Thursday evening at a White House press briefing. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based manufacturer of Lysol and other household cleaning products, said in a statement that its products “should only be used as intended” and “under no circumstance” should the products be consumed by people.

“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),” RB said in a statement. “As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.”

Family Dollar Store, anti-bacterial wipes and cleaning products.

Jeff Greenberg | Getty Images

The company added that it has a “responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.”

The consumption or injection of disinfectants is not only unproven to be effective in treating Covid-19, but it can lead to death, former Gottlieb said.

“There’s no circumstance under which you should take a disinfectant or inject a disinfectant for the treatment of anything and certainly not the treatment of coronavirus,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “There’s absolutely no circumstance under which that’s appropriate and it can cause death and very adverse outcomes.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the media was “irresponsibly” taking Trump’s comments out of context with “negative headlines.”

“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” she said in a statement Friday. 

There is currently no drug clinically proven to be effective against the coronavirus, but dozens  of different drugs are in trials around the world. Trump has previously touted an anti-malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine as a “game-changer” even though early results from clinical trials show “very mixed” results, according to Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina. 

Other drugs, including Gilead‘s remdesivir have shown promise, Gottlieb said, but he added that “there is no homerun here.” He said no drug should be used outside of protocol.

“We’re going to have safe and effective drugs for coronavirus, I believe,” he said. “But there’s no product right now that’s proven to be safe and effective against the coronavirus and there’s really no product that’s shown enough promise that I think you’d want to use it outside the clinical trials.”

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