Published 8:40 PM EST Jan 30, 2020
The ongoing spread of a new coronavirus strain, first identified in Wuhan, China, has caused 170 deaths as the World Health Organization declares it a global health emergency.
Meanwhile, some Facebook and Twitter users have claimed that common disinfectant sprays and wipes manufactured by brands such as Lysol and Clorox can cure the current outbreak. And while disinfectant sprays can help slow the spread of any viral threats, they are not 100 percent effective.
“Get yourself some Lysol and you’re good,” one Twitter user writes. “This (expletive) kills corona virus in 30 seconds.”
A Facebook post published Tuesday — which has since been deemed “False Information” on the platform — alleges that a bottle of Clorox “claimed it could kill” coronavirus “before it was developed.”
According to a statement by the Clorox Company, some Clorox products, indeed, are effective “against viruses similar” to the current strain of coronavirus.
The specific products that “can be used against” coronavirus include disinfecting wipes and an all-purpose cleaner with bleach, which a representative from the Clorox Company said works only on hard, nonporous surfaces.
Similarly, some Lysol products — including disinfectant and multi-purpose sprays and wipes — have shown effectiveness against similar viruses on hard, nonporous surfaces, per a statement from Lysol.
These products can also be used for the current strain, as approved by the EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy, which allows some manufacturers “to make limited claims” of their products’ effectiveness “against emerging viral pathogens.”
But they may not necessarily be effective toward this new form of coronavirus, currently designated as 2019-nCoV, or 2019 novel (or new) coronavirus.
Then, why is it called coronavirus? It has not been given a name yet — but its severity has resulted in federal officials and World Health Organization representatives addressing it as “the new coronavirus.” Or, simply, coronavirus.
However, this current strain is not the only form of coronavirus — and is, in fact, in a family of other viruses. Other severe, fast-spreading respiratory illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, are in the family of coronaviruses. A form of coronavirus also causes the common cold.
The branding on Clorox and Lysol products likely refers to its efficacy toward already-known forms of coronavirus.
Representatives from Lysol’s parent company Reckitt Benckiser did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote