Proof, if needed, has finally come from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has now declared two specific hand sanitiser formulations as effective against coronavirus.

The announcement followed an in-depth study by the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention into the abilities of different sanitisers to kill the virus. The results have now been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which states that, “We found that SARS-CoV-2 was efficiently inactivated by WHO-recommended formulations, supporting their use in healthcare systems and viral outbreaks. Of note, both the original and modified formulations were able to reduce viral titers [the presence of the virus] to a background level within 30 seconds. In addition, ethanol and 2-propanol were efficient in inactivating the virus in 30 seconds at a concentration greater than 30% (vol/vol).”

The study recommends that hand hygiene is at the heart of staying healthy and in preventing the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19.

While hand washing still remains the best way to keep hands clean and virus-free, in some situations, such as on public transport, on a trip in the countryside, or in a children’s playground, this is not always possible. In these instances, hand sanitisers are the best way to kill or inactivate the virus. But questions have remained about which recipe or brand of sanitiser is best against the pandemic virus.

Today, those questions have been answered.

Specifically, the study confirmed the effectiveness of the following two types of product.

Type 1 recipe:

·       ethanol — 80% by volume (vol/vol)

·       glycerine (also known as glycerol) — 1.45% vol/vol

·       hydrogen peroxide — 0.125% vol/vol

Type 2 recipe:

·       isopropanol (also known as 2-propanol or isopropyl alcohol) — 75% vol/vol

·       glycerine — 1.45% vol/vol

·       hydrogen peroxide — 0.125% vol/vol

Of specific note, the study also warned that many people are not using hand sanitiser correctly. The report stating that, “One caveat of this study is the defined inactivation time of exactly 30 seconds, which is the time recommended but not routinely performed in practice.”

The study was led by Stephanie Pfänder, a professor of virology based at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, in Germany. “We showed that both WHO-recommended formulations sufficiently inactivate the virus after 30 seconds,” says Prof. Pfänder.

Meanwhile, some hand sanitiser ingredients are actively discouraged. As the journal Medical News Today, reports, “Methanol is a toxic alcohol that can have adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or headache, when a significant amount is used on the skin. More serious effects, such as blindness, seizures, or damage to the nervous system, can occur if methanol is ingested.”

Advising that, “If you purchased any hand sanitizer containing methanol, you should stop using it immediately.” Consequently, the US FDA has recalled several brands of hand sanitiser, due to their inadequate and potentially dangerous ingredients.

These are worrying times, so it is wise to be well-informed. Knowing the correct hand gel product to buy and the proper way to use it could be the difference between staying healthy and getting sick.

Worse still, for those with elderly parents or those with friends and family who have weakened immune-systems or suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma or emphysema, such knowledge could be the difference between life and death.

To learn more about using the correct hand sanitiser to combat coronavirus visit AG PROTECT.

Photo credit: Chesna from Pixabay, mohamed Hassan from Pixabay, & Pablo Ibañez from Pixabay