The novel coronavirus has a lipid envelope. Soap being a detergent destroys this envelope. The same is true for alcohol also.
Structure of Lipid Envelope:
SARS-CoV-2 particles, like other coronaviruses, are spherical and have proteins called spikes protruding from their surface.
These spikes latch onto human cells, then undergo a structural change that allows the viral membrane to fuse with the cell membrane. The viral genes can then enter the host cell to be copied, producing more viruses.
Recent work shows that, like the virus that caused the 2002 SARS outbreak, SARS-CoV-2 spikes bind to receptors on the human cell surface called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
All of this is held together by a fatty layer, called an envelope.
Functioning of Alcohol in Sanitizers:
The Envelope layer is disrupted when it comes into contact with soap or a hand sanitiser with more than 60% alcohol.
Disruption of the envelope leads to the killing of the virus.
Handwashing for 20 seconds at least kills the virus.
Indian Government’s Move: The Government has notified hand sanitizers as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.