Do Hand Sanitizers Work and Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Coronavirus

Given the current news about the latest strain of 2019 novel human coronavirus, it’s only natural that we do everything in our power to keep germs from spreading. Two high priority questions being asked right now are: Do hand sanitizers really work, and do hand sanitizer kill coronavirus?

The shorts answer is YES to both questions and below you’ll find which hand sanitizers have some research behind their claims. But before that, it’s important for U.S consumers to understand why we can’t just buy a hand sanitizer rated for coronavirus. Enter FDA Regulations.

A Brief Intro into Hand Sanitizers: FAQ Style

Do Hand Sanitizers Need to be EPA Registered?

NO. Hand Sanitizers fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) because they are for human, topical use. The EPA deals with sanitizing and disinfecting inanimate objects like countertops, floors, toys, fabrics, door knobs, medical instruments, etc.. The reason for the question is Benzalkonium Chloride is one of the most used proven surface disinfectant used in the world, not Alcohol.

Does the FDA Approve and Register Hand Sanitizer Claims?

No, at least not in the same manner in which the EPA handles and registers surface disinfectants. Instead, the FDA regulates the ingredients that manufacturers are allowed to use when making a hand-sanitizer.

Are Hand Sanitizers Regulated at All?

Hand Sanitizers are considered Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) according to the FDA and must comply with all regulations that apply to OTC Drugs. This includes approved ingredients, efficacy claims (kill claims) and proper labeling. An over the counter product maker is forbidden from making claims that say their product is capable of “killing” anything….even if it can.

Where the heck did all the hand sanitizers go? There used to be hundreds of choices!

In may be news to you but back in April of 2019, the FDA banned 28 chemicals from being used in hand sanitizers due to safety concerns. A decision that leaves manufacturers with only 3 approved active ingredient options:

•       Isopropyl Alcohol

•       Ethyl Alcohol

•       Benzalkonium Chloride

Do Hand Sanitizers Actually Work at Killing Disease Causing Microbes?

Global studies point to: yes. Regardless of studies, US manufacturers are forbidden from marketing their hand sanitizing products with kill claims.

So where does that leave us?

Luckily, science exists…and scientists love to conduct studies that prove whether or not something does or does not in fact kill something else. And now we’ll get into the science behind hand sanitizers and what type of research has been done across the world.

National Center of Biotechnology Information

For those of you unfamiliar with the National Center for Biotechnology Information prepare to be amazed. Essentially, NCBI is part of the US National Library of Medicine and home to an enormous database, which stores research studies conducted across the world. Much of it is off limits to the general public, but other parts and studies are available to common folk like us.

Do Hand Sanitizers Kill Human Coronavirus – The Deadly Strains

Yes, on a global level, some hand sanitizers were studied and proven to be effective for killing the deadly 2002 SARS coronavirus, but no hand sanitizer sold in the US has the legal right to make these claims, or any claims pointing to kill power of any pathogen; even when backed by science.

So if you see a hand sanitizer that say’s “kills SARS or “Kills Wuhan or Novel Coronavirus” they are not complying with FDA regulations of OTC (over the counter) claims.

In fact as our research unfolds for this article, the makers of Purell, have just been warned by the FDA to STOP making claims that their ethanol-based hand sanitizer could be effective for controlling the spread of some deadly pathogens.

Here is one little snippet of the warning letter:

FDA Warning Letter to Gojo Industries, makers of Purell Hand Sanitizer – “Your labeling claims that PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizers are effective in preventing disease or infection from pathogens such as Ebola, MRSA, VRE, norovirus, flu, and Candida auris, and in preventing the spread of infection, go beyond merely describing the general intended use of a topical antiseptic as set forth in the above-referenced relevant rulemakings.”

Conclusion – Hand Sanitizers with the following active are effective against Coronavirus;

•       Isopropyl Alcohol

•       Ethyl Alcohol

•       Benzalkonium Chloride

We choose Benzalkonium Chloride as the active of choice for the following reasons:

  • Less Toxic
  • Non Flammable
  • Does not damage the skin
  • More effective with repeated use.

Unlike Alcohol Gel it no longer works after applied – ulta-derm Alcohol Free hand Sanitiser works longer after using.

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