Since early this year the world has been dealing with a bully.
Bullies create a general sense of fear in a population primarily by terrorizing the weak and the frail. Because of this, bullies project a mystique of strength and invulnerability but, at their core, often reveal themselves to be weaklings. In the end, bullies are defeated when they make the mistake of picking on someone who has the resolve to take the right action.
The novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease is a bully.
There is no arguing that the coronavirus fits the first part of this description—it instills fear and projects a sense of invulnerability. This blog post discusses why the coronavirus is really a wimp, and how healthcare professionals and environmental services can effectively punch back.
Exposing the warrior's weakness
To be clear, saying the coronavirus is weak is not the same as saying it is not dangerous. It is doing a great deal of harm globally because it is highly contagious, novel, and no one had immunity. But being harmful is not the same as being invulnerable.
The interesting thing about the coronavirus is that it has a lipid coating and in the world of microorganisms, that makes it kind of a wimp.
There are a few ways to combat the coronavirus. First, soap and friction remove the coronavirus from hands, skin, and from surfaces. Enzymatic cleaners with protease and lipase can attack the protein spikes and lipid outer shell of the virus, so alcohol and selective disinfectants can enter and dissolve the inner infectious RNA core of the virus. In general, microorganisms wear armor, like warriors.
To visualize the relative difficulty of killing microorganisms, Figure 1 from the CDC provides a hierarchy that illustrates the decreasing order of resistance to disinfection or sterilization. Prions and bacterial spores are listed at the top because they are the most resistant to disinfection or sterilization. Lipid viruses, like the coronavirus, are at the bottom indicating that they have the least resistance.
Throwing a powerful punch
There are two ways to throw a punch.
- The right way – where you land a clean blow and knock out your opponent
- The wrong way – where you land a glancing blow that hurts your hand merely aggravating your opponent
Disinfecting without cleaning is the wrong way to throw a punch at the coronavirus!
Most disinfectants are not effective in the presence of dirt and organic matter; therefore, cleaning must occur before disinfecting. In fact, some commonly used disinfectants may not have a high enough alcohol concentration to effectively wipe out the virus.
According to the CDC, “Standard Precautions are used for all patient care.” The following practices are of note:
- Clean and disinfect patient care equipment and medical devices
- Clean and disinfect the environment appropriately
Notice that “clean and disinfect” go together. According to the CDC, “Cleaning is the necessary first step of any sterilization or disinfection process.”
How Case Medical can help
Case Medical recommends its U.S. EPA awarded Safer Choice instrument chemistries, preferably Penta Wipes, our ready to use multi-enzymatic wipe followed by our Case Solutions Alcohol Spray, a 70% solution of denatured Ethanol to get into the core.
Case Medical is open during the pandemic and can take your orders, including those for cleaning and disinfecting products. Contact us with any questions or to place an order. Stay well!