Dettol and Lysol labels say products can 'kill coronavirus'. But can they really? Here's an explainer
Twitter image

The coronavirus pandemic has caused fear, sometimes to the point of paranoia amongst millions of people. Every day, with the number of fatalities going up, it’s only natural. Thanks to this fear, it has become commonplace for a section of society to share news that can be fake. It’s not that the sender is doing something wrong, but s/he is too scared to cross-check to tell the difference.

One such rumour doing the rounds was that Dettol, one of the world’s most popular antiseptic and disinfectant products, can cure coronavirus. Social media lost the plot by sharing a picture of the Dettol label that claims that it can cure coronavirus. A similar tweet about Lysol, a disinfectant product is also doing the rounds

However, a spokesperson from RB, the parent company of Dettol and Lysol issued a clarification. “Our products are effective against other coronaviruses (MERS-CoV and SARSCoV). We haven't had access to the new virus (2019-nCoV) for testing yet, so we are unable to confirm our level of effectiveness against. We are working to ensure we have the latest information on it,” he tweeted.

A detailed Facebook post was also shared about the same. "RB has become aware of speculation about Dettol products and the novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus. As this is an emerging outbreak RB, like all manufacturers, doesn't yet have access to the new virus (2019-nCoV) for testing and, as a result, are not yet in a position to confirm levels of effectiveness against the new strain.

"Our products have been tested against other coronaviruses (such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV) and have been found to kill those. Although 2019-nCoV is a new strain, this virus is very similar to other coronaviruses. We continue to work with our partners to ensure that we have the latest understanding of the virus, route of transmission and will test our product range once health authorities make the strain available.As a global leader in health and hygiene, we continue to play our part in combating and containing the outbreak of the virus. To this end, we have donated £5.5 million in cash and products to assist in the mobilisation of medical staff to treat those affected and provide soap and hand sanitisers to hospitals in Wuhan to help contain the further spread of the virus.

"It is vital the accurate, evidenced-based information is conveyed to the public so they are properly informed about the importance of good hygiene at all times, but particularly during outbreaks," the post read

Notably, there are seven other types of coronavirus strains that infect humans and animals. The first identified human coronavirus was in fact discovered in 1960. This also means that if someone has coronavirus, it doesn’t necessarily mean that s/he has the COVID-19 strain that has affected the world.

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