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Coronavirus: Dettol and Lysol maker warns against injections after Trump comments

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Pictured: Dettol anti-Bacterial spray, a Reckitt Benckiser brand. (Photo by: Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A leading global disinfectant maker has been forced to warn consumers against injecting or drinking its products after Donald Trump asked if it could help treat the coronavirus.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB, RB.L), the maker of UK cleaning brand Dettol and US brand Lysol, issued the stark advice to consumers on Friday, saying it had a responsibility to help with “myth-busting.”

“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,” it said in a statement on its website.

The London-listed firm’s statement came after the US president said it would be “interesting” for researchers to check if inserting disinfectant into patients’ bodies could help, calling it “almost a cleaning.”

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The comments have been widely dismissed by scientists and sparked ridicule. Robert Reich, a US public policy professor and former labour minister, tweeted: “Trump's briefings are actively endangering the public's health. Boycott the propaganda. Listen to the experts. And please don't drink disinfectant.”

RB itself did not refer to the president, but said it was responding to “recent speculation and social media activity.” It said it had been asked whether inserting disinfectants could be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for COVID-19.

“As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines,” it added. “We have a responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.”

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William Bryan, of the Department of Homeland Security science and technology unit, has said health officials are not considering such treatment, according to Reuters.

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