SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – People are preparing for the spread of the coronavirus in the Bay Area, stocking up on hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes in an effort to keep the virus at bay.
Many grocery retailers like Costco and Target have already reported empty store shelves where Lysol cleaning disinfectants and Purell hand sanitizers are normally stocked.
While Lysol, Clorox, and other household disinfectants boast their ability to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, does that include the coronavirus?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, disinfectants are thought to be effective against the coronavirus, but this has not been confirmed by testing. That means its ability to kill the coronavirus is not scientifically proven, as first reported by CNN.
Under the EPA’s guidance, since Lysol, Clorox, and other household disinfectants have been proven to kill other human coronaviruses, people can safely use the wipes and sprays to disinfect surfaces in areas where the novel coronavirus is suspected.
In a statement to CNN, the EPA said companies can apply for an “emerging pathogens claim” based on previously approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses. The agency reviews them and determines whether the company can make that claim.
Once approved, the company can make off-label claims in the event of outbreaks like the coronavirus.
Several Lysol products have been approved to make emerging viral pathogens claims for efficacy against the novel coronavirus, the EPA told CNN, but “definitive scientific confirmation” that the wipes can defend against this specific virus can only come once it’s been tested against the strain, per CNN.
According to the CDC, person-to-person transmission remains the most common way to contract coronavirus.
Yes, it is possible that people who touch infected surfaces or objects and then touch their eyes eyes or mouths can also become infected, but this is not the main way the virus spreads.
Keep in mind that Lysol, Clorox, and other disinfectants are designed for surfaces in homes, workplaces and other common areas, not body parts.
Your number one defense against the coronavirus is washing your hands with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
But it is also won’t hurt and remains good practice to wipe down shared work spaces with disinfectant wipes and cover your coughs and sneezes.