BYU study shows some alcohol-free hands sanitizer effective in fighting COVID-19

PROVO – Since the pandemic began, many people in the US have worked under the assumption that for a hand sanitizer to be effective in combating novel coronoviruses, it must contain at least 60% CDC alcohol to be recommended. .

However, a new study published by a team of researchers from Brigham Young University in the Journal of Hospital Infection puts those assumptions in question, as it shows that sanitizers using some alcohol alternatives are just as effective. That contains alcohol.

The team of researchers tested four commercial disinfectants, three of which are completely alcohol-free, and revealed that each was effective in preventing the virus.

“They all worked beautifully,” said Benjamin Ogilvy, a graduate student at BYU and one of the leading researchers on the paper.

To test them, the researchers first mixed novel coronoviruses with various cleaning agents one at a time and then, after 15–30 seconds, introduced the virus into living cells.

Each solution neutralized the virus, even as researchers added mucus and blood proteins to the solution mixture, which sometimes distracted the cleaning agents and made them less effective.

“Our goal was to see if your hands were a little dirty, would it still work? And that was fine,” Ogillay said.

Perhaps the most notable of the successfully tested solutions is benzalonium chloride, an ingredient used in many hand sanitizers and other cleaning products.

Ogilvy, who has spent studying disinfectants, said he was not surprised by the results.

“Inverse viruses from flu viruses such as SARS-Cove-2 are very rare; they are very easy to kill, and this agent always kills very well-covered viruses,” he said.

Before COVID-19, benzalonium chloride was the primary ingredient in many popular hand sanitizers.

Now, people shy away from the products that use it.

“People were already using it before 2020,” BYU professor and co-author Brad Burgess said in a press release. “It seems that during this epidemic, nonwheelers-based hand sanitizers have been dumped on the side of the road because the government was saying, ‘We don’t know that this works,’ due to the novelty of the virus and the unique circumstances in which it is being tested. is required. “

Ogilvy said he thinks the widespread assumption about alcohol-free disinfectants is less effective in preventing COVID-19 stem from a review paper published in early 2020.

“Overall, this is a great article. It has been quoted very widely, because it was quick and in part because it was really thorough,” he said. “The authors of that paper stated that they thought that benzalonium chloride, which is the active ingredient in alcohol-free hand sanitizers and approved only by the FDA, stated that the chemical was probably less effective against SARS-COV-2.” Think about really setting the stage for everything. “

Since the paper was published, several other articles have expressed concern that benzalonium chloride is not as effective as other disinfectant agents.

Ogilvy hopes that his team’s research will help provide the necessary evidence supporting pushback.

“It hasn’t really gotten a ton of press coverage yet, because nobody had any scientific results to back it up until now,” he said.

He said that if nonwheel-based hand sanitizers are widely used, it would also help solve myriad supply chain problems.

“They operate at very low concentration,” he said of the benzalkonium chloride sanitizer. “This makes it very easy to sail. So drinking 10,000 gallons of alcohol is kind of a pain, but shipping 20 gallons of benzalkonium chloride is very easy.”

It is important to note that both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommend washing hands with soap and water as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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