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GS-III :
  • 01 April, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

Alcohol Sanitizers and Coronaviruses

Alcohol Sanitizers and Coronaviruses

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T

  • 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.

Source: TH


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