Medical professionals have voiced their shock and concern after US President Donald Trump publicly wondered whether injecting disinfectants into the body might work as a treatment for coronavirus.

The suggestion came as William Bryan, head of science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed “emerging results” from new research at a press conference on Thursday (April 23).

He said the research suggested that solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.

He added that scientists have seen a similar effect from higher temperatures and humidity.

Trump at White House briefing

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC
(Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Following the briefing, Mr Trump was asked if it was dangerous to make people think they would be safe by going outside in the heat, considering that so many people have died in Florida.

“I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great”, the president replied.

He said: “I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. And if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned.”

Mr Trump said researchers were also looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if injecting them into patients could be an effective treatment.

Following a briefing on the latest research, Trump said: “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.”

Mr Trump added: “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

Mr Bryan said there was no consideration of injecting disinfectant into patients.

Following the press conference, a number of medical professionals expressed their disbelief at the proposal on Twitter.

Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote: “Trump’s briefings are actively endangering the public’s health. Boycott the propaganda. Listen to the experts. And please don’t drink disinfectant.”

Barry Schapiro, an associate professor and board certified orthopedic surgeon practicing in Florida, tweeted:  “Another I can’t believe I have to say this.. but UV light won’t cure you of coronavirus, but it will cause sunburns and skin cancers.

“And do not, under any circumstances, inject bleach or isopropyl alcohol into your veins to kill the virus…”

A third medical professional, MD Esther Choo, an emergency physician and associate professor at the Oregon Health & Science University, said: “We’ve gone from suggesting unproven treatments (hydroxycholorquine) to suggesting things that are known to have unequivocal harm (isopropyl alcohol, bleach). What’s next?”

The United States has confirmed nearly 870,000 positive cases of the virus to date, over 500,000 more than any other nation.

More than 50,000 people have died.

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