The Science Behind UV Light and ‘Disinfectant’ Touted by Trump

Most people who have been following the coronavirus pandemic know the story by now. At one of the president’s coronavirus briefings, a scientist described how UV light and disinfectant is used to sterilize surfaces, especially in hospitals, to kill the virus and thus stop it from infecting more people. President Trump, thinking out loud, wondered if these tools could be used to treat the coronavirus inside the human body.

Social media exploded with outrage and mockery. Trump, it was said, was suggesting that people literally drink Clorox or inject Lysol into their veins. Is he crazy? Does he want people to die? Even the Lysol company had to put out a press release to suggest that intravenous consumption is not a proper use of its product.

Naturally, the mockery on social media once again missed the point that the president was trying to make. In fact, according to Newsmax, a scientific basis exists for what Trump was trying to suggest. Chairman of the Hamptons Health Society Dr. Peter Michalos sat down with the Cats Round Table on 970 AM in New York City to attempt to explain.

“Michalos lamented the unfortunate misreporting of the story from the infamous White House coronavirus task force briefing where Trump was mocked and derided for talking about injecting light and disinfectants in the body to treat coronavirus patients.”

One technique being used at a hospital in Boston used nitric oxide (not Clorox or Lysol) and spraying it into the patient’s lungs. The substance acts as a disinfectant, killing bacteria and any virus that happens to be infecting the organ.

What about UV light? Apparently, there is an old technique that uses that too. Michalos explains:

“Before antibiotics, they used to do something called UVC extracorporeal cleaning of your blood. They let your blood out, put it in a container, and they hit it with UVC to kill the bacteria. And then they put it back in your body. So there is a basis of using light.”

A more modern technique using UV light to disinfect the lungs is being developed at Cedars Sinai in California. The idea is to insert a tube into the lungs and shine UV light into it, killing off viruses.

The hospital is in the early stages of developing the therapy, having applied for a patent, and planning for clinical trials. Cedars Sinai thinks it could be an effective treatment for patients who have already been intubated and are in advanced stages of the coronavirus. The vast majority of people at that stage do not make it.

The question arises, why did members of the media and other social media warriors not bother themselves to do the work of research into whether what President Trump said had a scientific basis? Why did they actually lie in media stories and on Twitter by stating that the -president had literally suggested drinking Clorox or injecting Lysol, both of which are on their face crazy ideas?

Several stories reported, falsely as it turned out, a spike of people inappropriately using disinfectants. Ironically, USA Today reported that Christina Cuomo, wife of the CNN talking head Chris Cuomo, bathed in Clorox in an attempt to treat her coronavirus. The Clorox Company was appalled, stating that their product, “is NOT recommended for personal hygiene of any kind–consumers should always avoid direct skin and eye contact with both undiluted bleach, as well as prolonged contact with the various bleach solutions we recommend for household cleaning and laundry … using a bleach and water solution for bathing is not approved by the EPA and should not be done.”

The problem with the reporting on what Trump said, besides laziness on the part of journalists, is the assumption on the part of many of the beltway glitterati that Republican presidents are inherently dimwitted. Reagan was a b grade actor. Bush the Elder was a preppy lightweight. Bush the Younger was a frat boy who used to drink to excuse. Trump is supposed to be especially dumb because he used to be a real estate developer and reality TV star.

Trump is not a medical doctor, though he clearly has first-class medical experts at his beck and call. The problem was that he was trying to explain a complex subject in simple terms. The media is trained, like Pavlov’s salivating dog, to put the worst possible interpretation on the president’s words. The problem, sadly, is an intractable one.