The coronavirus that’s been making headlines was not known to science before late 2019. And yet, people are posting photos of old bottles of Lysol and Clorox wipes that claim their contents can kill coronavirus. What gives?
This isn’t evidence of a conspiracy. It’s just confusion about a name. This coronavirus is new, but there have been plenty of coronaviruses before it, both human and animal. For example, here is a paper from 1970 describing three different strains of human coronavirus. Heck, the photo we ran with yesterday’s coronavirus article was taken in 2008.
You have heard of coronaviruses before, even if you don’t recognize the name. SARS, the respiratory virus that caused an international outbreak in 2003, was a coronavirus. MERS, another respiratory virus first identified in 2012, is a coronavirus too.
You may have also had a coronavirus. Of common colds, about a third are caused by rhinoviruses. Other culprits include respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, and … yep. Coronaviruses. “Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives,” the CDC says on their coronavirus page, and they list four of the strains known to cause colds.
Lysol tested its product against viruses “similar to” 2019-nCoV, their website says. Factcheck.org states that it was tested specifically against the 229E strain, one of the ones that cause the common cold.