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Japan univ. study finds off-the-shelf detergents, hand soaps that disinfect coronavirus

Handwashing is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- A number of commonly available detergents, hand soaps and other products cause the novel coronavirus to lose its infective capabilities, according to research by a team at Kitasato University in the capital.

    The findings were confirmed primarily in products made with ethanol or surface-activating agents. A team representative said, "We can expect the products to be effective on virus particles when using them to clean hands, walls, floors and other surfaces, as well as when cleaning clothes." However, they stressed that household detergents shouldn't be used on the hands, and urged people to always use products as their labels advise.

    According to the Japanese Society for Virology, the novel coronavirus is covered in a double membrane referred to as an "envelope." It was already known that ethanol and surface-activating agents were able to break through the membrane and stop the virus from being infective. However, it hadn't been clarified whether standard retail products were also effective.

    The research team carried out tests on a total of 22 products, including hand sanitizers made with ethanol, home-and kitchen-use products with surface activating agents, and hand soap. They took into consideration the instructions written on the products, and used tap water for goods that required dilution. The novel coronavirus samples used in the study were provided by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

    A miniscule 27 microliters (1 microliter is equivalent to a hundredth of a milliliter) of handwashing products, and goods use to wipe down furniture and other items, were applied to a 3 microliter solution with 3 million ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules of the novel coronavirus. The products made contact with the virus for one minute. Laundry detergents and dishwashing solutions made contact with the virus for 10 minutes.

    Next, the team took the liquid containing the virus, diluted it, and then cultivated it for six days. In cases where RNA levels did not increase, it was judged that the products had been effective against the novel coronavirus. Reportedly 21 of the 22 goods tested were found to have some effect.

    Hideaki Hanaki, a member of the team and the head of the Kitasato University Omura Satoshi Memorial Institute's Graduate School of Infection Control Sciences, commented, "It's thought that if you use the products as instructed to on their labels, they're effective. It's possible that products other than those we investigated which have types of ethanol or surface-activating agents in them could be effective depending on their concentrations. We want to go further with our research."


    List of household products confirmed to be effective against the novel coronavirus:

    -- Handwashing products and cleaning wipes:

    Kantan My Pet (undiluted solution)

    Quickle Wiper 3D absorbing wet sheets non-fragrant (wrung liquid)

    Quickle Wiper 3D absorbing wet sheets strong (wrung liquid)

    Quickle Joan Sheets (wrung liquid)

    Quickle Joan antibacterial spray (undiluted solution)

    Dining table Quickle spray (undiluted solution)

    Safe Keep antibacterial wipes (wrung liquid)

    Magiclean Daily Care Toilet Foam Spray (undiluted solution)

    Hand Sukisshu EX (undiluted solution)

    Biore Guard Foaming Hand Wash (undiluted solution)

    Biore u Foaming Hand Wash (diluted by factor of 3)

    Biore Guard Hand Sanitizer Spray (undiluted solution)

    Biore Guard Gel Hand Wash (diluted by factor of 3)

    Biore u hand sanitizer (undiluted solution)

    Resesh antibacterial EX Protect Guard (undiluted solution)

    -- Laundry and utensil detergents:

    Attack high penetration reset power (3.5 grams per liter)

    Attack Zero (diluted by factor of 3,000)

    Clean Keeper (diluted by factor of 100)

    Wide Haiter EX Power liquid (diluted by factor of 100)

    Wide Haiter EX Power powder (5 grams per liter)

    Wide Magiclean (10 grams per liter)

    (Japanese original by Ryo Watanabe, Science & Environment News Department)

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