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How effective is spraying disinfectant to stop the spread of coronavirus?

Disinfectants are the chemical substances that are used to destroy harmful microorganisms. The destruction of microbes or other pathogens by the use of disinfectants is known as disinfection. Disinfectants can be used distinctly or in combination with other disinfectants. Disinfectants generally perform their antimicrobial activity in three ways: coagulation, cross-linking, or clumping. These three processes disturb the existing structure and functions of the microbe. Disinfectants disintegrate the proteins, which is the building block of the microbe or virus. Alcohol in the disinfectants breaks the outer coating of the virus. Mists of dilute bleach are used for air disinfection.


A disinfectant, however, does not kill all microorganisms like bacterial endospores. The registration of a disinfectant to be used against a particular bacteria or pathogen requires prior approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


Disinfection plays a very crucial role in healthcare centers. The environmental surfaces of hospitals and medical equipment used by health workers are stuck with millions of microbes. Disinfectants deactivate these microbes and viruses, thereby, reducing their spread considerably. Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) are halted by the use of disinfection and sterilization. In all healthcare environments, disinfection is carried either by wet-pasteurization or treating with liquid chemicals. Usually, the chemicals include- alcohol, chlorine, proxygene compounds, or phenol, etc.

After the discovery of Novel Coronavirus SARS CoV-2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released "Emerging Viral Pathogen Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides" on 29 Jan 2020. It contains a list of chemicals and products that can be used as disinfectants to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus. The virus carries the potential to cause a range of illnesses, from common flu to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The fourteen-day long incubation period of the virus makes it difficult to identify the infected person. The symptoms are not visible among a lot of infected persons in the initial days, and unintentionally, they may act as its transmitter. The difficulty in the detection of the Novel Coronavirus has made the demand for disinfection and sanitation inevitable.

Andrew Wheeler, the director of EPA, considers disinfecting as important as handwashing for reducing the hasty transmission of coronavirus. EPA has recommended the mixture of sodium hypochlorite and phenol as the most effective disinfectant in the list. The Centre for Disease Control and Protection has already issued the guidelines in which it has recommended to clean and disinfect the areas where a person either with confirmed Corona case lived, or the person under investigation lives. The move of expansive disinfection of public places has been started because the virus sticks to the surfaces touched by the infected person. And, if a healthy person touched that particular surface accidentally, the virus will get onto them. Drones and aircraft are being used for disinfecting the contaminated places. Repeated decontamination will certainly help to combat the virus.

Is spraying disinfectant an effective way to stop the spread of coronavirus?
Is spraying disinfectant an effective way to stop the spread of coronavirus?

One of the typical traits of the novel coronavirus, which eclipses the drive to go for air disinfection, is its travel medium- Coronavirus does not travel through the air. It rests on the surfaces. The Novel Coronavirus spreads through direct contact with an infected person or contact with the droplets generated by the infected person, when he coughs or sneezes or through his saliva. Although bleach (used as a disinfectant) can break proteins, it has its limitations. Bleach breaks down under the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sometimes, people are allergic to disinfectants. The toxic chemicals in the disinfectants can cause cancer, respiratory ailments, and reproductive complexities. It irritates the mucous membrane. Rep