The makers of Dettol did not know about the new Wuhan coronavirus before the rest of us
30th Jan 2020
Dettol antiseptic spray says it kills human coronavirus.
That is correct but that doesn’t mean that Dettol spray can kill the new coronavirus identified in Wuhan. Coronavirus is a category of viruses that includes the common cold, and it is likely this the label is referring to.
The implication seems to be that the new coronavirus observed in Wuhan, China is not new, or was somehow anticipated.
The image does seem to be a genuine label on a Dettol spray product. Several Dettol products mention that they are “proven to kill…Human Coronavirus”. However, some comments under the Facebook post note that “Salmonella” is misspelled on the label. We don’t know why that is, although the brand’s Australian website also seems to misspell it.
The key point here is that coronavirus is a broad category of viruses which includes a number of different respiratory illnesses. One is the common cold, but the category also includes SARS (the severe acute respiratory syndrome of which there were outbreaks in 2002 and 2004), and the new coronavirus identified in Wuhan.
The “human coronavirus” mentioned on the back of the Dettol bottle is almost certainly referring to the common cold.
The coronavirus identified in Wuhan is a new virus, which hadn’t been identified in humans before the first cases at the end of 2019.
This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because although the Dettol spray does mention coronavirus, that’s a whole family of respiratory viruses, including the common cold, as well as this new coronavirus virus from Wuhan.