An International Research Team Tested Disinfectants Against the Novel Coronavirus SARS-Cov-2

WHO-recommended disinfectants are effective against the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disinfectants tested are WHO-recommended formulations that can be prepared quickly and easily by pharmacies and help alleviate the current shortage of disinfectants.

When used correctly, both alcohol-based hand disinfectants recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) are effective against the novel coronavirus Sars-Cov-2, as confirmed by an international research team headed by Professor Stephanie Pfänder from the Department of Molecular and Medical Virology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). The journal Emerging Infectious Diseases published the relevant article in its online edition on April 13, 2020.

30 seconds for disinfection

The researchers exposed Sars-Cov-2 viruses for 30 seconds to the WHO-recommended disinfectant formulations. “This time frame was chosen based on recommendations for hand disinfectants,” says Stephanie Pfänder.

Subsequently, the team tested the viruses in cell culture assays and analyzed how many viruses remained infectious. “We showed that both WHO-recommended formulations sufficiently inactivate the virus after 30 seconds,” as Stephanie Pfänder sums up the results. Plus, this does not merely apply to the WHO solutions; rather, their main components, the alcohols ethanol, and isopropanol, also showed adequate inactivation of the virus.

WHO-recommended formulations

The disinfectant I recommended by the WHO consists of 80 volume percent ethanol, 1.45 volume percent glycerine and 0.125 volume percent hydrogen peroxide. Disinfectant II consists of 75 volume percent isopropanol, 1.45 volume percent glycerine and 0.125 volume percent hydrogen peroxide.

German Pharmacies allowed to sell WHO-II formulation

Following the amendments to the German Drug Law by the German government on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, that will remain in effect for six months, the formulation WHO II, which is based on isopropanol, has been approved for this period. As a result, pharmacies are permitted to produce and sell this formulation in order to alleviate the current shortage of disinfectants.

Reference: “Inactivation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 by WHO-Recommended Hand Rub Formulations and Alcohols” by Annika Kratzel, Daniel Todt, Philip V’kovski, Silvio Steiner, Mitra Gultom, Tran Thi Nhu Thao, Nadine Ebert, Melle Holwerda, Jörg Steinmann, Daniela Niemeyer, Ronald Dijkman, Günter Kampf, Christian Drosten, Eike Steinmann, Volker Thiel and Stephanie Pfaender, 13 April 2020, Emerging Infectious Diseases.
DOI: 10.3201/eid2607.200915

COVID-19Public HealthRuhr-University BochumWHO