As the world is suffering through a global pandemic aka Coronavirus, Government, as well as other organizations, advise people to use sanitizers and disinfectants to avoid the spread of the virus. This has led to a shortage of sanitization products. There’s been a lot of strange rumors going around about disinfectants at the present moment, so we’ve tried to answer a few of the most common questions about them in this article.
Do disinfectants kill SARS-CoV-19 virus?
Coronavirus is an enveloped virus, which means the protein containing the viral genome is surrounded by a lipid membrane, and that offers a fairly flimsy defense against disinfectants. Alcohol-based products will disrupt this lipid layer, and that stops the virus from being able to recognize and latch on to host cells. Quaternary ammonium-based compounds are another type of disinfectant that will attack the lipid structure of the viral envelope, and these are typically used as surface disinfectants. Moreover bleach can also be used to break down the virus.
Are soap and water enough to do the job?
Of course, soaps work in a very similar manner to alcohol-based sanitizers. They disrupt the virus’s fatty lipid membrane and deactivate it.
Why do we need disinfectants then?
Usage of soap over every surface for sensitization does not seem to be a practical approach as the need for water is essential while used soap. Imagine when you’re out and about to get essential supplies or exercising. In that case, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will come in handy. It is recommended to use disinfectants for sensitization of high-touched surfaces, such as desks, doorknobs, elevator handles, light switches, phones, remote controls, and keyboards.
Do we need to disinfect buildings, roads and outdoors?
Yes. We all have seen the sensitization trucks from municipal corporations spraying disinfectants over building walls and roads. This type of disinfectant most commonly contains a dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite or household bleach.
How do I find out what to use?
US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a list of antimicrobial products for use against COVID-19. It is recommended to check out this list to avoid buying duplicate or false products as there are reports of illegal disinfectants on their markets.
So are we running out of disinfectants?
Like sanitizer, the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the demand for disinfectants too. According to A.I.S.E (International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products), manufacturers of disinfectants were earlier struggling with a lack of active substances, such as ethanol, propanol and propan-2-ol, as well as co-formulants and some of the packaging they need for getting their products to market. However the situation seems pretty good for stocks being replenished. Producers have been shifting production at plants around the world to making disinfectants. BASF has reallocated several tonnes of isopropanol for the production of hand sanitizer. Dow Chemical has shifted production at five of its plants around the world to produce an estimated 200 tonnes of sanitizer a week.
Can we use disinfectants to clean Coronavirus patients?
The answer is no, as it is found that disinfectants are toxic to human cells, injecting or ingesting them may likely result in making you ill and could even be fatal.