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Soap, water, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): an ancient handwashing strategy for preventing dissemination of a novel virus.

Public Health Agencies worldwide (World Health Organization, United States Centers for Disease Prevention & Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, etc.) are recommending hand washing with soap and water for preventing the dissemination of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. In this review, we have discussed the mechanisms of decontamination by soap and water (involving both removal and inactivation), described the contribution of the various components of formulated soaps to performance as cleansers and to pathogen inactivation, explained why adherence to recommended contact times is critical, evaluated the possible contribution of water temperature to inactivation, discussed the advantages of antimicrobial soaps vs. basic soaps, discussed the differences between use of soap and water vs. alcohol-based hand sanitizers for hand decontamination, and evaluated the limitations and advantages of different methods of drying hands following washing. While the paper emphasizes data applicable to SARS-CoV-2, the topics discussed are germane to most emerging and re-emerging enveloped and non-enveloped viruses and many other pathogen types.

Ijaz MK, Nims RW, de Szalay S, Rubino JR. Soap, water, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): an ancient handwashing strategy for preventing dissemination of a novel virus. PeerJ. 2021 Sep 17;9:e12041.

 

Author: Ijaz MK, Nims RW, de Szalay S, Rubino JR

Published: 24/09/2021

Publication Type: Journal article