Scientist warns: Mass use of hand gel could create new superbugs

Andrew Kemp, Head of Scientific Advisory Board on the British Institute of Cleaning Science says that the alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels is yet to be proven to kill the virus causing Covid-19 on your skin. 

Instead the overuse of alcohol based hand sanitizers could cause the bacteria to become resistant and become a superbug that could threaten public health. 

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To clarify why this happens: This is a consequence of alcohol being the only active ingredient, meaning that if a certain amount of bacteria survives the initial application, the surviving strain replicates becoming resistant to all alcohol at that specific concentration. Hence the never ending arms race against raising the alcohol levels against these new strains. What is worse, is that alcohol contains the actual nourishment bacteria needs to replicate. Ineffective alcohol is food for bacteria.


How long Coronavirus survive on surfaces

According to studies conducted by researchers from Princeton, National Institutes of Health, UCLA, the Virus remained virulent 8 hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, up to two days on stainless steel, up to three days on plastic.


The researchers compared two strains of the virus.

  • In red SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Coronavirus disease.
  • In purple, SARS-CoV-1, responsible for SARS epidemy in 2003.

The Y-axis indicates the Viral Load, the number of infectious particles per mL. The viral load is considered ineffective below the dottet line, as to say that the body’s immune system should be able to handle it, if its not weakened by other factors.

X-axis indicates time in hours.

Results show that the Virus remained virulent around 8 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, up to two days on stainless steel, up to three days on plastic.

As you wash your hands, don’t forget to wipe down surfaces also.

Link to research paper