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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cleaning Products: Most Recent NIH.Gov Study, Plus EPA and CDC Approvals

During something like this, I prefer to go straight to the clinical trials and studies for information (well, it's part of my job anyway, in medical transcription - we often research terms, but must use credible sources ;)

Keep in mind as you read this study, COVID-19 is the disease, SARS-CoV-2 is the actual coronavirus that causes it. 

According to the this recent study (March 6th)  by the NIH.gov entitled "Features, Evaluation and Treatment Coronavirus (COVID-19), products which contain the following agents are most effective against COVID-19 in preliminary studies:



"Thus, SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the betaCoVs category. It has round or elliptic and often pleomorphic form, and a diameter of approximately 60–140 nm. Like other CoVs, 
it is sensitive to ultraviolet rays and heat.

Furthermore, these viruses can be effectively inactivated by lipid solvents including ether (75%), ethanol, chlorine-containing disinfectant, peroxyacetic acid and chloroform except for chlorhexidine."
What I found curious was that chlorine (bleach) is effective, but chlorhexidine was not - chlorohexidine is AKA "Hibiclens," a commonly used pre-surgical prep.

Also, note that COVID-19 is sensitive to extra UV and heat, so come on warmer spring  - although it is a range and we're not sure how much it takes with this particular coronavirus. 


Because keep in mind, even countries like Malaysia and Australia are affected, even though it's summer, there. 

(This is why it's debated whether to give Tylenol for fevers, as fevers are the body's way of "boiling" bacteria; however, fever itself past a certain point is dangerous to the body and you do want to be comfortable from the side effects of fevers.)

(Viruses need a small amount of water and heat to survive, but within a certain range; thus,  heat, UV rays, and water either kills, diminishes, or flushes out viruses, but it depends upon the amount and the type of virus, and we just don't know yet with this particularly virulent coronavirus). 

Beware of scams - here is a complete list of EPA-approved agents in cleaning products, proven effective against prior viruses like the original SARS and H1N1 (and some early studies show effectiveness COVID-19). 

(The list is being constantly updated as studies come in, so keep that link handy :)

The short version is, products should contain the following, in order of effectiveness (surface and skin may vary, see below):


#1.  (Chlorine) Bleach. 
As I said in this post on March 2nd, the 99.9% effective boast that it can kill 99.9% of germs?  It's true - SARS, H1N1 - in fact,  bleach is the only agent which can boast that it can even kill hepatitis A - particularly germicidal bleach. 
(Thank God I bought 2 giant bottles of germicidal Clorox 2 weeks ago, because everyone is out).
If you don't have germicidal bleach, regular bleach should be fine for cleaning.  Though you can use it on skin, it should be diluted - because of course it's drying, and can burn if not diluted.  
The CDC breaks it down according to surfaces at this link, and recommends for surface cleaning, a bleach solution, mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
#2.  Isopropyl alcohol 
Less effective than chlorine bleach, but still kills above 70% of pathogens, depending upon surface, and less harsh on your skin than bleach; thus, why it's in hand soaps. 
(Nope, the vodka in your liquor cabinet isn't going to cut it, sorry.) 
#3.   Hydrogen peroxide.
Use at least 3%.   Less effective for cleaning surfaces than bleach, equal to alcohol on surfaces, but hydrogen peroxide may be more effective on skin than alcohol (depending on pathogen). 

If you don't have these things, use regular soap and water and scrub - some reports say friction itself contributes to virus demise. 

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