Dettol will not cure coronavirus, says Facebook

Experts warn there is no evidence Dettol can cure the deadly coronavirus despite social media posts suggesting it will.

On Monday, a Facebook user posted a picture of the back of a bottle of Dettol, showing the small print saying it kills "human coronavirus".

"Well, well, well. Corona Virus on a Dettol bottle! Anyone would think they were forewarned!" read the caption.

The post was shared more than a thousand times - gaining such notoriety that Facebook stepped in.

The social media giant commented on the post, adding a related article by fact-checking site FullFact which explained: "coronavirus is a category of viruses that includes the common cold and it is likely this the label is referring to".

The article goes on to say the coronavirus which originated from Wuhan has never been identified in humans before the December outbreak.

Dettol itself says it has not tested its product against the lethal Wuhan strain yet.

But the fact-checking doesn't seem to have stopped Kiwis wanting to protect themselves.

NZME reports people in Auckland are buying Dettol by the box.

"All those shelves are getting empty very quickly," Countdown Meadowlands duty manager Kumar Than told NZME.

While Dettol will not cure the virus, it can be used as protection against becoming infected. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised people wash their hands regularly with alcohol-based hand rub - such as Dettol hand sanitizer. 

It also warns people to cover their mouths and noses while sneezing and avoid contact with people who appear ill to avoid contracting the deadly virus. 

The virus originated in the city of Wuhan in China's Hubei province. Thought to have spread to humans via a live game meat market, the disease causes respiratory distress and in severe cases, organ failure.

To date there have been more than 250 deaths in China and 11,791 confirmed cases. 

The virus has spread to more than twenty countries.