Quick Take

Fact-Check-Half-True-Stamp

A whatsapp message has been doing rounds that shows the photo of the back of a dettol bottle. The message focuses on the claim that dettol is effective against coronavirus. We fact checked the message and found it to be half true

The Claim

Several whatsapp messages, facebook posts and tweets which are circulated has the photo of a Dettol bottle. The claim is Dettol is effective against coronavirus.

Fact Check

Is the photo fake/photoshopped?

No. The photo apparently is right representation on the Dettol bottle. The company has acknowledged several tweets that put up photos of dettol bottle.

Is Dettol actually effective against Coronavirus?

Dettol claims it is actually tested against certain strains of coronavirus including MERS and SARS. The company’s official statement says, “Our products have been tested against other coronaviruses (such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV) and have been found to kill those.”

However, this is irrelevant to the current coronavirus pandemic across the world. Dettol is still not proven to be effective against the current coronavirus strain.

What does that mean? Why the confusion?

‘Coronavirus’ is a generic name for a group of virus.
They are named for the crown-like effect created by the spike proteins on their surface.

There are different types of coronaviruses.
The current pandemic is caused by Novel Coronavirus. ‘Novel’ is term used in scientific community which means ‘New’.
World Health Organization (WHO) has now officially named the virus as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”. The disease it causes is named as COVID-19. This ‘New’ type of coronavirus has emerged in December in Wuhan, China.
While structurally, scientists have categorised this under coronavirus family but this new virus is still different from the other viruses in the same family. This is why the vaccine for older coronaviruses have proven ineffective on this new virus and scientists are working for finding a solution.

Does that mean Dettol is completely ineffective in the ‘New’ Novel Coronavirus?

Not proved. It may work. It may not work.

Though the company believes that it has a higher chance of working even against the new strain of coronavirus, it accepts that they haven’t been able to test it yet. The official statement says, ” 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. 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.”

The official tweet and facebook post from the company regarding the matter is as below:

31st January 2020 – Slough, UK – RB has become aware of speculation about Dettol products and the novel 2019-nCoV…

Dettol UK ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಜನವರಿ 31, 2020

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