Michael Staines
Michael Staines

20.52 24 Apr 2020


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The Chief Medical Officer has warned people not to take medical advice from the US president.

Dr Tony Holohan was speaking after President Donald Trump called for research into whether injecting COVID-19 patients with disinfectant could cure them from coronavirus.

Doctors immediately warned against the idea - blasting it as "irresponsible" and "dangerous" and pointed out that it could kill people.

Meanwhile, the producer of Dettol warned that "under no circumstances" should its products be injected into the human body.

Speaking at the nightly COVID-19 briefing this evening, Dr Holohan said taking disinfectant into the body is a “very unsafe thing to do.”

“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim,” he said.

“I don’t know in the circumstances in which he made it whether he was simply speculating. He is not a doctor; I wouldn’t expect him to know what the treatments might be for COVID-19 - or to provide advice in relation to that.

“I am sure people would know not to necessarily listen to him when he is providing medical advice, whatever about in other circumstances.”

Trump US President Donald Trump participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic at the White House in Washington, DC. Picture by: Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

He said he wanted to make it “absolutely clear” that people should not consider trialling it themselves.

“It is really unsafe and dangerous and people should not do something like that,” he said.

“If people are looking for medical advice; their own doctor, the HSE website, places like that – that is where we should direct our queries when we have medical queries.”

Speaking at his own COVID-19 briefing last night, President Trump suggested disinfectant “knocks it out in a minute” and asked, “is there a way we can do something like that? By injection inside or almost a cleaning?”

This afternoon, the Dettol producer RB said that its products should only be used as intended.

“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 (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” it said.

“As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.”

President Trump has since claimed he was being “sarcastic” when he made the remark.


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