During the pandemic, everyone seems to have already understood: in order to protect themselves from the virus, you need to wear masks, keep a social distance and regularly treat your hands with antiseptic. And around the last point, many still have a lot of questions. The main one among them is: “Can ordinary alcohol serve as an alternative to antiseptic?”.
The causative agent of coronavirus: What you need to know about its structure
In order to know how to deal with the virus, it is necessary to understand what it is. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not full-fledged microorganisms. Any virus is a protein molecule (DNA), which is covered from the outside by a lipid (fat) shell. The virus, including the pathogen COVID-19, becomes dangerous only when it appears on the mucous membrane of the nose, mouth, and eyes. In this case, this molecule causes a mutation in the cells of the human body: it changes their genetic code. As a result, a previously healthy cell of the body turns into an incubator for viruses that multiply, destroy the cell and then transfer to others or spread through the blood throughout the body. Structurally, the virus is a rather fragile infectious agent. Its only protection is a thin outer shell. In addition, since the virus is a special organism, it does not die, but is destroyed. How long it will take for it to decay depends on various factors: humidity level, temperature, as well as the environment in which it is located.
Why is alcohol useless against coronavirus?
If we recall chemistry, then alcohol serves as a fat solvent. But not every alcohol, but only a certain concentration – from 65% and above. And if we remember this, it becomes clear why alcohol cannot be considered an effective remedy against coronavirus.
The strength of alcohol, as a rule, is 40 degrees (sometimes less). This means that the alcohol concentration in the drink is only 40%, which is clearly not enough to destroy the lipid envelope of the coronavirus. Scientists have also explained why this happens.
The fact is that if alcohol or alcohol solution is used as a disinfectant, it will not be possible to completely destroy the virus. In the best case – only to reduce its bioactivity. And then under the condition of a fairly long exposure of such a solution to the viral molecule. But when in contact with 70% alcohol, viruses die quite quickly and almost 100%.
But here scientists immediately made a remark. Drinking alcohol as a “cure for coronavirus” is a bad idea. The reason is that a dose of ethyl solution, which theoretically could destroy the virus, is also deadly for humans. And in smaller quantities, alcohol simply will not affect the pathogen COVID-19.
A bad idea and the use of allkogol for prevention. This is not something that will not do any good, but it can also play a cruel joke during an epidemic. Alcohol weakens the immune system, as a result of which it makes a person, on the contrary, an easier target for SARS-CoV-2. In addition, do not forget that alcohol abuse has a detrimental effect on all organs and systems of the human body. Therefore, during the epidemic, it is better to abandon the use of alcoholic beverages altogether.
Other useless methods of struggle
Contrary to popular misconception, vinegar is also useless in the fight against coronavirus. It is not able to destroy the lipid envelope of the molecule, which means it is not terrible for it. Another popular, but completely useless remedy against coronavirus is antibacterial drugs. As already mentioned, viruses and bacteria have completely different structures and natures. The first are intracellular substances, the second are individual microorganisms. Any antibacterial agent is aimed at killing bacteria, not destroying protein substances.
And then what will help?
The most effective way to fight the virus is ordinary soap. Soap foam dissolves fat. And hence, the lipid outer shell of the coronavirus. After the protective layer of the virus is destroyed, the protein molecule inside also disintegrates. But in order for the necessary reaction to occur, it is necessary to soap your hands for at least 20 seconds. By the way, another effective method against the virus can be hot water. It is likely that the high temperature of the water will lead to inactivation of the virus. But at the moment there is no reliable information about what kind of water temperature is needed, and how long it should affect the coronavirus.
You can destroy the virus with a solution consisting of 1 part bleach and 5 parts water. Such a mixture, although it does not directly affect fat, is able to break down protein, thereby destroying the viral particle.
Water saturated with oxygen (hydrogen peroxide) is also an effective destroyer of viral protein. But the catch is that it is unsafe to apply such a product in its pure form to the skin, since it can damage the skin. But it is quite possible to treat with peroxide the surfaces of objects that are not afraid of contact with such a substance for the purpose of disinfection.
By the way, during viral epidemics (not only COVID-19), it is important to keep your skin hydrated. Microcracks form on too dry skin, in which the virus can hide. While a healthy, holistic skin for the virus is an impenetrable armor.
And of course, do not forget to take vitamins and follow a healthy lifestyle – this is the best thing you can do for yourself during the epidemic.