Donald Trump suggests injecting disinfectant may work as a coronavirus treatment

24 April 2020, 07:49 | Updated: 24 April 2020, 09:52

Donald Trump asks if "injecting disinfectant" is a possible treatment for COVID-19

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

US President Donald Trump has been criticised by doctors after suggesting injecting disinfectant might be a viable Covid-19 treatment.

The President was speaking at a White House press briefing when he appeared to suggest irradiating patients' bodies with UV light, could also be a treatment for coronavirus.

At the same briefing, the White House has pitched "emerging" research on the benefits of sunlight and humidity in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

But William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security said that there are "emerging results" from new research that suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.

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The President was addressing the media at the White House
The President was addressing the media at the White House. Picture: PA

The President was talking about using light as a treatment for Covid-19 when he asked if it would be possible to use disinfectant "by injection inside or almost a cleaning," before clarifying he wasn't a doctor.

Mr Trump said: "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous - whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light," the president said, turning to Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, "and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it.

"And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of 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," the president continued.

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an 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. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”

Pointing to his head, Mr Trump went on: "I'm not a doctor. But I'm, like, a person that has a good you-know-what."

But medics have hit back at the President's remarks, Pulmonologist Dr Vin Gupta told NBC News: "This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it's dangerous.

"It's a common method that people utilise when they want to kill themselves."

Speaking to CNN, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn, who is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force said: "I certainly wouldn't recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant."

Dr Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, agreed that nobody should be ingesting bleach or other disinfectants.

"I don't think there's any need to hedge on that," she said. "Do not try these things at home, and follow your doctor's advice and follow good public health guidance."