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April 29th: The efficacy of ethanol against viruses in hand disinfection

Professor Kampf has published a very useful systematic review of the spectrum of virucidal activity of ethanol in solution or as commercially available products. Studies were selected which contained data on reduction of viral infectivity from suspension tests (49 studies) and contaminated hands (17 studies). Ethanol at 80% was highly effective against all 21 tested, enveloped viruses within 30s. Murine norovirus and adenovirus type 5 are usually inactivated by ethanol between 70% and 90% in 30 s whereas poliovirus type 1 was often found to be too resistant except for ethanol at 95%. Ethanol at 80% is unlikely to be sufficiently effective against poliovirus, calicivirus (FCV), polyomavirus, hepatitis A virus (HAV) and foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). The spectrum of virucidal activity of ethanol at 95%, however, covers the majority of clinically relevant viruses. Additional acids can substantially improve the virucidal activity of ethanol at lower concentrations against, e.g. poliovirus, FCV, polyomavirus and FMDV although viruses such as HAV may still be too resistant.

The review can be found at: Kampf G. Efficacy of ethanol against viruses in hand disinfection. Journal of Hospital Infection. 2018 Apr 1;98(4):331-8.