Disinfectant products that have been proven effective in protecting against the other human coronaviruses are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, too, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, Adalja said.
"We know that viruses that lack an envelope coating are much hardier in the environment," he said.
And under the EPA's guidance for emerging viral pathogens, since Lysol, and Clorox and other disinfectants have been proven to effectively kill other human coronaviruses, users can safely use the wipes and sprays to disinfect surfaces in areas where the novel coronavirus is suspected.
In a statement to CNN, the EPA said companies can apply for an "emerging pathogens claim" based on previously approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses. The agency reviews them and determines whether the company can safely make that claim.
Once approved, the company can make off-label claims in the event of outbreaks like the novel coronavirus.
Several Lysol products have been approved to make emerging viral pathogens claims for efficacy against the novel coronavirus, the EPA told CNN.
But "definitive scientific confirmation" that the wipes can defend against this specific virus can only come once it's been tested against the strain, said Reckitt Benckiser, the company that owns Lysol and other hygiene brands, in a statement to CNN.