Soap may be the key to killing COVID-19.
Southern Highlands resident and chemical scientist from UNSW Professor Palli Thordarson believes the key to killing off the virus before it enters the body is soap.
"My own research is in making soap like molecules to make new types of nano particles. The nano particles I make are very similar to the viruses oddly enough," he said.
"When COVID-19 began, it got me thinking about the similarities.
"For most people it doesn't make sense that something as simple as a bar of soap could kill the virus if there's no drug to cure it.
"The virus is almost like a tiny little particle, we call it a nano particle.
"There's a small greasy layer on the outside called a lipid bilayer and the molecules in that bilayer are very similar to soap molecules.
"So when you hit the virus with soap those molecules interfere with one another and the soap molecules start to break up this greasy coating and that's enough to make the virus inactive.
"All we need to do to make them inactive is destroy the layer because that layer is essential to the virus to get in to our cells."
Professor Thordarson said that what kind of soap people used didn't matter, it was about covering the whole surface of the hand with soap.
"However, it hasn't been really studied in great detail about and I will make that caveat," he said.
"This is why the 20 second advice is much more important than what kind of soap.
"What matters is that you don't skip any part of washing your hands, this is why you need 20 seconds. You need that time to get between your hands and fingers.
"Now alcohol sanitisers work in a similar way and when used correctly they work very well, however, it's harder for people to cover their hands with it than soap, so you should also spend 20 seconds rubbing your hands with a sanitiser.
"It's a mental thing, you know how to wash your hands but with alcohol sanitisers you have to think about it and make sure you wipe between your fingers."
Professor Thordarson also revealed that the virus is fragile compared to other viruses and bacteria and is easily killed outside of the body.
"I've been in discussion with one of our local experts here working with the WHO and she concurs with me that it's quite fragile compared to other viruses so its quite easily killed outside of the body," he said.
"So all the other viruses and bacteria you would need to clean with bleach but this one you can kill it with soap, and that's the good news.
"If you're worried about hygiene and germs in your own home just use your normal soap or detergent cleaning products but use them often.
"If possible, it wouldn't hurt at first to clean your surfaces with soap or detergent and then go over them with bleach if it does not damage what you want to clean - otherwise stick to the soap or detergent."
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