A new study by researchers at Brigham Young University finds that a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer is as effective at disinfecting surfaces of the Covid-19 virus as alcohol-based products.
The BYU scientists who conducted the study suspected that the CDC’s fondness for an alcohol hygienist stems from yet limited research on what actually works for SARS-CoV-2 disinfection.
To explore other options, they treated samples of the new coronavirus with benzalkonium chloride, commonly used in non-alcoholic hand sanitisers, and several other quaternary ammonium compounds regularly found in disinfectants.
In most test cases, the compounds eliminated at least 99.9 percent of the virus within 15 seconds.
“Our results indicate that a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer works just as well, so we might even be using it to control Covid,” said lead study author Benjamin Ogilvie.
Alcohol-free hand sanitizers, which are also effective against the common cold and flu viruses, have a number of advantages over their alcohol-based counterparts, Ogilvie explained.
“Bensalkonium chloride can be used at much lower concentrations and does not cause the familiar ‘burning’ feeling you would know from using an alcohol hand sanitizer. It can make life easier for people who have to clean hands a lot, such as healthcare workers, and maybe even increase compliance with sanitation guidelines, ”he said.
In the face of shortages, “having more options to disinfect hospitals and public places is vital,” added a Ph.D. student Antonio Solis Leal, who conducted the study experiments.
Switching to a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer is also logistically simple.
“People were already using it before 2020,” said BYU professor and co-author Brad Berges.
“It seems during this pandemic, the non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been thrown at the side of the road because the government says, ‘we don’t know these work,’ because the novelty of the virus and the unique laboratory conditions required to test it, ”added Berges.
Because benzalkonium chloride usually works well against viruses surrounded by lipids – such as Covid – the researchers thought it would be a good fit to disinfect the coronavirus.
To test their hypothesis, they put Covid samples in test tubes and then mix in different compounds, incl. Two percent benzalkonium chloride solution and three commercially available disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds, as well as soil and hard water loads.
Working quickly to simulate real-world conditions – because hand sanitizers have to disinfect quickly to be effective – they neutralized the disinfecting compounds, removed the virus from the tubes, and fixed the particles virus on living cells. The virus failed to invade and kill the cells, indicating that it had been deactivated by the compounds.
“A couple of others have looked at using these compounds against Covid,” says Berges, “but we are the first to look at it in a practical timetable, using four different options, with the realistic scenario of dirt on your hands. before you use it. ”
The team believes their findings “could actually provide a change in government directions about hand sanitizer,” Berges said.
Ogilvie hopes that the reintroduction of non-alcoholic detergents to the market can alleviate the shortage – and reduce the chance of people encountering some “broadly” grown-up alcohol hygienists in response to demand.
“Hand sanitizer can play a particularly important role in managing Covid. This is information that could affect millions of people, ”he said.
(This story of a wire agency feed was published without text modifications.)
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