Campaigners fear Trump's remarks will boost a fringe medical movement claiming that toxic bleach cures illnesses.
- Advocates of a toxic type of bleach — known as Miracle Mineral Solution — have seized on remarks by President Donald Trump suggesting that disinfectant could cure the novel coronavirus.
- An extensive network has long claimed that Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) can cure a raft of otherwise incurable illnesses. Medical authorities say it is dangerous to consume.
- Business Insider has extensively investigated the movement, which has mostly been deprived of endorsement from establishment figures.
- A campaigner said that Trump's comments were dangerous and irresponsible, and would be used by MMS advocates to further their cause.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Advocates of a toxic bleach "miracle cure" are claiming vindication after President Donald Trump at a press briefing suggested that injecting disinfectant could cure the novel coronavirus.
In comments that have stunned medical professionals, the president at Thursday's embarked on a wild series of speculations about coronavirus cures.
"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?" Trump asked, as a top medical adviser looked on aghast.
—Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
Pointing to his head, the president continued: "I'm not a doctor. But I'm, like, a person that has a good you-know-what."
The White House did not immediately respond to a question from Business Insider on the source of the president's belief about disinfectant.
While many greeted the claim as patent nonsense, members of a movement advocating so-called Miracle Mineral Solution — a type of bleach — were quick to claim vindication.
Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS, is a family of substances based around chlorine dioxide. Its adherents claim it can cure a raft of otherwise incurable illnesses. The FDA has warned that chlorine dioxide has "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects" when consumed.
Among them Jordan Sather, who is also an exponent of the pro-Trump "QAnon" conspiracy movement.
In a tweet he cited the president's remarks, then went on to extol the curative powers of chlorine dioxide to his 150,000 followers.
"Do you realize how freaking cheap and easy it would be to mass produce chlorine dioxide for 100,000's of people? We could wipe out COVID quick! The biggest hurdle is education, which is difficult with how s--t our media is. Doctors should be learning about this stuff," he tweeted after the president's remarks.
—Jordan Sather (@Jordan_Sather_) April 23, 2020
A Twitter spokesperson said that the company had removed these messages and others by Sather promoting chlorine dioxide as a treatment for the coronavirus flagged to them by Business Insider.
"We're prioritizing the removal of COVID-19 content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm. As we've said previously, we will not take enforcement action on every Tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19," said the company in a statement.
Business Insider found scores of other accounts on Twitter claiming that Trump's remarks were evidence that bleach can heal the disease.
Myles Power, a scientist who has debunked claims by MMS advocates and other medical misinformation, told Business Insider that the remarks would empower the movement.
"Mr Trump's recent off-the-cuff comments about injecting disinfectant might sound ridiculous but it will be used as an endorsement by these bleach pushers who in the past have injected people with their corrosive elixir," Power said.
"For a world leader at the height of a pandemic to say something so utterly ridiculous is not only irresponsible it's also potentially lethal."
On YouTube one advocate uploaded a video of Trump's full remarks.
Underneath, the person linked to videos by other MMS supporters, testimonials, and a Red Cross video widely cited by MMS advocates, debunked last year by Business Insider.
YouTube banned the promotion of MMS last year after an investigation by Business Insider.
Business Insider reported on Thursday that for several months in groups on Telegram, advocates are claiming, with no supporting scientific evidence, that the substance can prevent or even cure the novel coronavirus. Earlier in April the Food and Drugs Administration issued a legal warning to Jim Humble, who founded the MMS movement, for pushing the substance as a coronavirus cure.
QAnon conspiracy theorists are not the only right-wingers who've pushed MMS, with former Ronald Reagan adviser Alan Keyes promoting the substance on his online TV show.