Alcohol antiseptics have become the “gold standard” for coronavirus prevention worldwide, as they reliably destroy the pathogen. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends choosing products with at least 60-70% alcohol. Rospotrebnadzor standards are more stringent: Russians should protect themselves from coronavirus with antiseptics with an alcohol content of up to 80%. People who have to treat their hands several times a day have encountered unpleasant side effects – alcohol burns the skin, especially sensitive, causes dryness and flaking.
A group of scientists from Brigham Young University decided to test whether non-alcoholic antiseptics can be used as an alternative. To do this, the researchers tested several quaternary ammonium compounds that are often found in disinfectants. Scientists placed SARS-Cov-2 samples into test tubes and then conducted several experiments in which they mixed the virus with several compounds. The results were very encouraging: all of these agents destroyed at least 99.9% of the virus within 15 seconds of contact.
To confirm the findings, the scientists neutralized the disinfectant compounds, removed the virus particles from the test tube and placed them on living cells. The pathogen could not penetrate them, after which the researchers concluded that the means used had reliably inactivated it.
The authors noted that non-alcoholic hand sanitizers neutralize influenza and herpes viruses and have bactericidal and antifungal properties. They were widely used long before the pandemic, but their effectiveness in preventing coronavirus infection has not been studied.
“Benzalkonium chloride can be used at much lower concentrations and does not cause the“ burn ”sensation that often occurs with alcohol-based products. Their use could make life easier for people who often have to disinfect their hands, for example, medical workers, ”the study authors write. In their opinion, the results obtained may change the recommendations of the health authorities.