Can Dettol kill coronavirus? Company issues statement
The firm added it will continue to work to understand the virus.
Concerned over fears of the rise in the novel Coronavirus cases across the globe, residents are scrambling to stock up disinfectants, masks and anything that would give them protection against the deadly virus. So when a recent social media post came up about a disinfectant spray by Dettol that stated it could kill 'coronavirus' and was widely shared, the company clarified, stating the label instead refers to more common strains of the bug which it has been tested with and proven to kill.
Dettol manufacturing company Reckitt Benckiser said that although it says its products can kill some coronavirus strains, such as that which causes the common cold, they have not tested it against the lethal Wuhan strain yet.
When Khaleej Times reached out to Dettol Arabia, the brand responded by saying: "As this is an emerging outbreak, we do not yet have access to the new virus (2019-nCoV) for testing. Our products have been tested against other coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and have been found to kill the virus. Although 2019-nCoV is a new strain, the virus is very similar to other coronaviruses."
The firm added it will continue to work to understand the virus and test Dettol's effectiveness against it. "We are working with our partners to ensure we have the latest understanding of the virus, route of transmission and will test our product range as soon as possible," it stated.
Talking about the effectiveness of disinfectants, Dr Mohamed Rafique, pulmonologist, chair of infection control and medical director at Prime Hospital, said personal protection and surface disinfection can play important roles. " Most importantly it is best to follow the guidelines provided by the Centes for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention of adhering to hand hygiene, masks and various kinds of protective gear. Also, any disinfectant be it sanitizer, bleachers or surface cleaners with over 60% of alcohol base will be effective in disinfecting the surface. Usually cold viruses are enveloped viruses that can be destroyed by disinfection by using strong alcohol based disinfectant."
Dr Rafique added: "Just focus on two things, hand hygiene keeping in mind that one must wash their hands for 20 seconds at least and to disinfect homes, you can use bleach or sodium hypochlorite solutions. Also, if you feel your hands are not clean then do not touch the eye as that is another inlet for the virus."
Speaking about the claims mentioned at the back of the disinfectant bottle that it can kill certain types of coronaviruses, James Michael Lafferty, global CEO of Fine Hygienic Holding, said: "A good quality disinfectant is definitely a great tip to help reduce risk to families but to prove a particular disinfectant can do away with certain viruses, one has to run a clinical study and have proof that it managed to kill the viruses it claims. So far we do not have any data on the novel coronavirus, but looking at the nature that all viruses have certain characteristics in common, when a product kills one kind of virus, it tends to kill the other too so I am sure Dettol must be killing certain strains of the virus but until they run a clinical study no one can be sure about it."
Lafferty added: "Some years ago, when I conducted a research on infection, I found that the main carriers of germs were door knobs and money exchanging hands, which is why definitely sanitizers and disinfectants do play an important role in helping prevent infections, however, we should also focus on simple tips such as frequent hand washing, maintaining a hood health, cooking food well and wearing masks in public and above all maintain a good health and strong immune system that can help fight such viruses."
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