TESTING on whether ultraviolet light could zap cells infected with the coronavirus was already underway when President Trump floated the idea at a press briefing.
Aytu BioScience had signed a deal with Cedars-Sinai to develop and commercialize a UV light as treatment for coronavirus infected patients
The announcement was made on April 20, a few days before Trump's now-infamous press briefing where he suggested treating COVID-19 with UV light and injecting bleach.
Although the pharmaceutical company is not conducting tests on bleach injection, it is developing "Healight", a technology researchers say is effective at antiviral treatment.
"Pre-clinical findings indicate the technology’s significant impact on eradicating a wide range of viruses and bacteria, inclusive of coronavirus," the company said in its statement.
Trump was lambasted by both the public and media for the suggestions he made on Thursday.
The president was speaking at a White House press briefing following the publication of a study showing that UV light and disinfectants could both kill the virus on surfaces.
Earlier in the briefing, medical experts had presented evidence from Homeland Security that the virus weakens when exposed to sunlight and heat.
The study also showed that bleach and isopropyl alcohol killed the virus in saliva or respiratory fluids in a matter of minutes.
The president suggested that coronavirus patients could be injected with disinfectants – which are extremely harmful to humans – or exposed to different types of light.
"Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light?" he asked Department of Homeland Security official William Bryan.
Trump continued: "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. As you can see, it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs."
"And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.
"And I think you said you're going to test that too? Sounds interesting."
"Our team has shown that administering a specific spectrum of UV-A light can eradicate viruses in infected human cells (including coronavirus) and bacteria in the area while preserving healthy cells," Dr. Pimentel of Cedars-Sinai added.
Ali Rezaie, one of the inventors of Healight, added: "Based on our findings we believe this therapeutic approach has the potential to significantly impact the high morbidity and mortality of coronavirus-infected patients and patients infected with other respiratory pathogens."
Trump later defended his bleach comments saying he was "asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen".
“I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.
“But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands, and that would make things much better.”
His press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted meanwhile that his suggestion was taken out of context.
"President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” McEnany said in a statement shared by CNN.
"Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” she added.
Aytu BioScience has licensed exclusive worldwide rights to the technology from Cedars-Sinai for all endotracheal and nasopharyngeal indications.
Patents have been filed by Cedars-Sinai, while Aytu BioScience will manage filing globally.
In the future, Aytu BioScience hopes to roll out the product outside the US.
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