SEOUL, March 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Scientific principles have confirmed that soap acts as a “natural enemy” to kill the novel coronavirus.
Quarantine authorities and clinical experts suggest washing hands as the best hygiene practice to prevent COVID-19.
Kim Yong-kwan, a researcher in the Biosafety Research Team at the National Institute of Environmental Research, which operates under the Ministry of Environment, said, “The surfactant component contained in soap destroys some of the outermost layers of the coronavirus, including COVID-19.”
“If there is a hole the outermost layers, the virus is as good as dead,” he explained.
The 15-member Biosafety Research Team are experts who study infectious diseases and viruses from wild animals such as those from bats, African swine fever and Avian Influenza.
Viruses that have caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015 and novel coronavirus all have “spike proteins” in the form of bumps on the surface.
The major parts of the spike that are highly likely to be infected during the bump stick to intermediate hosts such as wild animals or “receptors” of human cells, causing infectious diseases.
The spike proteins are plugged into a layer of fat called an “envelope.”
If one uses soap, the virus fails to amplify and exterminates because the surfactant of soap melts part of the fat and destroys the form.
A surfactant is a molecule that can act on the boundary of different properties that are not mixed like water and oil.
Because of its property, it sticks to the fat layer of the coronavirus and because of its “hydrophilicity,” which loves water molecules, it allows the dead virus to be washed away in the water when removing soap bubbles.
“The alcohol component of disinfectants can also exterminate the virus”, Kim stressed, “But using soap is much more effective in completely removing the virus because it goes through the process of washing one’s hands in running water once more.”
Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales, also posted images and information on social media that explain how soap breaks down the outermost membrane of the coronavirus.
“The virus enters the body by touching the eyes, nose and mouth with hands that come into contact with the coronavirus,” said clinical experts at home and abroad. “To prevent infection, it is important to thoroughly wash your hands with soap in running water.”
Kim also added that “while it would be difficult to clean small areas like the inside of the fingernails, 99 percent of the viruses can be removed if the backs of the hands, palms and fingers are washed well with soap and water.”
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)