After his support for anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, as a possible cure for COVID-19, US President Donald Trump seems to have suggested injecting bleach and using UV light to treat patients with the novel coronavirus.
Given the fact that a supposed cure, touted by the top leadership might encourage people to self-medicate, members of the medical fraternity have raised caution against the remedies recently suggested by the US President.
Trump suggests disinfectants, sunlight for novel coronavirus
In his daily press briefing, on Thursday, William Bryan, acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, presented the findings of a US government research, that suggested that the effect of novel coronavirus is reduced when exposed to sunlight, heat and humidity.
The study also suggested that bleach could kill the virus in five minutes and isopropyl alcohol would kill it in 30 seconds.
Weighing on the issue, Trump suggested further research in that area. "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous - whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it," Trump said, referring to Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator.
"And then I said, suppose 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," he went on.
"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? So it'd be interesting to check that."
Irresponsible and dangerous: experts weigh in on Trump's suggestion
Dr Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert, 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 utilize when they want to kill themselves," he mentioned.
"Don't take medical advice from Trump," tweeted Kashif Mahmood, a doctor in Charleston, West Virginia, who said, he "can't recommend injecting disinfectant into the lungs or using UV radiation inside the body to treat COVID-19."
John Balmes, a pulmonologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, warned that even breathing fumes from bleach could cause severe health problems. "Inhaling chlorine bleach would be absolutely the worst thing for the lung", he told Bloomberg. "The airway and lungs are not made to be exposed to even an aerosol of disinfectant."
"Not even a low dilution of bleach or isopropyl alcohol is safe. It's a ridiculous concept," he further added. USA's Food and Drug Administration has long warned against drinking chemicals present in disinfectants. Also, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted: "UV light? Injecting disinfectant? Here's an idea, Mr President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals."