Long-Lasting Disinfectants Could Offer Further Defense Against Coronaviruses

Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 3:37pm
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As chapped hands and dwindling supplies of cleansers attest, disinfecting surfaces against coronavirus is a never-ending job.

But continuously active surface disinfectants can bond to surfaces for weeks or even months, although their effectiveness in stopping germs can vary over time and depends on many factors, including environmental factors and how often the surface is touched.

The chemicals can be applied to porous materials like textiles or solid surfaces like stainless steel or plastics, and remain in place even after multiple washings.

They are used mainly by hospitals to combat diseases like the stubborn staph infection MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

In tests, such coatings reduced concentrations of human coronavirus 229E, which causes colds, by more than 90% after 10 minutes and more than 99.9% after two hours.

The tests were conducted two weeks after the disinfectants were applied by Allied Biosciences, which provided funding to the University of Arizona to conduct the analyses.

Lead author Luisa Ikner, an associate research professor in UA's Department of Environmental Science said, even if the coatings are eventually found to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, they provide only one line of defense among many.

"It's really meant to supplement good disinfection and cleaning practices and hand washing," she said.

An early version of the paper is available at MedRxiv. Though it has not been peer reviewed, it suggests another potential area for research.

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