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Ho Ching shares alternatives to store-bought disinfectants

The Independent logo The Independent 5/3/2020 Hana O
Ho Ching in a red jacket standing in front of a body of water © The Independent Singapore

Singapore – The Prime Minister’s wife has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and sharing findings and information on social media. Her latest post was on the alternatives and effectiveness of various sanitising components.

The CEO of Temasek Holdings, Ho Ching who is also active on Facebook said on March 5 that, "mild disinfectants can be effective against many bacteria and viruses."

"These acid based liquids however are not recommended as hand sanitizers unless we wish to pickle our hands!"

“Although the typical advice is to use 60 to 80 per cent alcohol-based hand rubs, this is generic advice for good effectiveness against a broad range of bacteria and viruses,” wrote Ms Ho. She added that with coronaviruses, 70 per cent alcohol-based disinfectants were advised.

“It is true in general that alcohol disinfectants with less than 60 per cent alcohol are markedly less effective, but they may still be as effective if they contain a blend of other non-alcohol active ingredients.”

Ms Ho shared that coronaviruses are one of the easiest pathogens to destroy as the outer membrane enveloping it is its only source of defence. “One we disrupt the envelope, the coronavirus can no longer infect,” she added.

Quoting a study based on her recollection, a low alcohol content mouthwash worked against either SARS or some other human coronaviruses. 

“If true, this is not surprising that mild disinfectants can be effective,” said Ms Ho. “After all, a mildly acidic ingredient such as 7 or 8 per cent citrus acid in lemon or lime juice is good against many bacteria and viruses. Likewise, vinegar,” she added.

"Now that we know that the COVID-19 virus is a fragile enveloped coronavirus, it is a germ that’s easy to destroy," continued Ms Ho.

She listed a few other chemicals effective against coronaviruses that could be used as hand sanitizers such as benzalkonium chloride, providine-iodine or iodine in iodophors, and chloroxylenol. However, she advised that the last ingredient is toxic to dogs, cats and other small animals. Ms Ho confirmed that chlorhexidine has been tested on coronaviruses and have proven to be ineffective in killing the pathogen.

Commenting about the use and effectiveness of providine-iodine, Ms Ho said, “perhaps in a real pandemic, instead of walking around with surgical masks, we should be walking around with brown stained hands covered with iodine-based disinfectants!”

Read her full post below:

Hand sanitizers which work include alcohol based hand sanitizers as well as non alcohol based sanitizers. They all…

Posted by HO Ching on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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(Content provided by Business Insider)

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