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What is COVID-19 afraid of?

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Areas, devices and objects that numerous people touch on a daily basis should be thoroughly cleaned with alcohol-based products at least every 2 hours, including door knobs, handrails and tables.
  • A temperature of over 60 degrees Celsius is capable of destroying the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, although drinking hot fluids or bathing in hot water will not have any effect on the virus.
  • Maintaining a strong immune system by getting enough rest, exercising regularly, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and acting in accordance with medical guidelines can help the body in its fight against COVID-19.

 

The well-known SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of COVID-19, has led to a global pandemic. As a result, it is essential that we all understand how to combat this virus, including ways it can be destroyed or its spread reduced.

  1. Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) of at least 70% concentration is capable of destroying the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Any areas, devices or objects that are regularly touched, such as door knobs, handrails and tables, should be thoroughly cleaned with an alcohol-based fluid of at least 70% concentration every 2 hours. For other items, including blankets, bedding, kitchen equipment, plates, crockery, cutlery and drinking glasses, it is recommended that a reliable cleaning solution be used instead.
  2. Chlorine-based home cleaning products, containing sodium hypochlorite, bleach or liquid chlorine, can be used to kill the virus. Brands such as Haiter and Clorox contain particularly high concentrations of sodium hypochlorite. Nevertheless, if these brands are being used, the sodium hypochlorite must be diluted to no less than 0.5% concentration, a level at which the solution is still strong enough to destroy the coronavirus.
    For example, to ensure a concentration of 0.5% when using Haiter or Clorox products that contain 6% sodium hypochlorite, dilute 1 part product with 11 parts water.
  3. Dettol disinfectants are sold in two main forms: Dettol Hygiene Multi-Use Disinfectant and Dettol Antiseptic Disinfectant, each of which is useful in its own way.

Dettol Hygiene Multi-Use Disinfectant contains a 2% concentration of the active ingredient alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride which, while capable of killing viruses, should not be used on the skin.

Dettol Antiseptic Disinfectant (recognizable by the blue crown located on its label) contains a 4% concentration of the active ingredient chloroxylenol, which is suitable for use on skin. When using this product as a surface disinfectant, a dilution ratio of 1 part product to 39 parts water is advised. When used on the skin, such as to disinfect a wound, the dilution ratio of product to water should be 1:20. When used for personal hygiene purposes this ratio should be 1:40.

The Singapore-based National Environment Agency has conducted studies into disinfectant products capable of destroying previous iterations of the coronavirus. However, due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus being so new, we do not yet have studies and data related specifically to this strain of coronavirus. The table below shows the results of studies into previous coronaviruses.

Table: Disinfectants and concentrations necessary to destroy coronavirus (% v/v)

Disinfectant Disinfectant
Accelerated hydrogen peroxide 0.5 %

Benzalkonium chloride (Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride)

0.05 %
Chloroxylenol 0.12 %
Ethyl alcohol 70 %
Iodine in iodophor 50 ppm
Isopropanol 50 %
Povidone iodine 1 % iodine
Sodium hypochlorite 0.05 – 0.5 %
Sodium chloride 0.23 %
  1. A temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and above will kill the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. All meals should be cooked to at least this temperature. However, drinking hot fluids or bathing in hot water does not have any effect on this virus.
  2. Laundry should be washed with detergent in order to destroy any virus contamination.
  3. Regularly washing hands with soap and water or alcohol-based gels for at least 20 seconds will help to reduce the spread of the virus.
  4. A strong immune system is a strong defense against the virus. It is noticeable that the rate of COVID-19 fatalities rises among the elderly, which is linked in part to their reduced immunity to disease. Strengthening the immune system by getting plenty of rest, regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, and acting in accordance with medical advice, can go a long way toward helping the body in its fight against disease.

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Payia Chantadisai, M.D. Summary: Internal Medicine Infectious Diseases