To get rid of viruses, soap actually works better than hand sanitiser 🧼 wash your hands

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viruses • chemistry 

Basically, a virus is a big self-assembled bunch of proteins and lipids. The fatty lipid bilayer is what holds the whole thing together.

Soap easily dissolves those lipids, making the whole thing fall apart and killing the virus.

The alcohol in hand sanitiser does the same thing, but not as well. Any antibacterial compounds don't touch viruses at all, so don't waste your time or money. It's basically just expensive soap.

⛓️ source link • lots more info on soap and viruses 

But I'm just paraphrasing someone else right now. Here's a twitter link to a (long!) thread written by a chemistry prof, all about how and why soap kills viruses. It's worth reading, even if it does get a bit technical!

twitter.com/PalliThordarson/st

Show thread

⛓️ source link • lots more info on soap and viruses 

@InvaderXan

thank you, I won' t read the long thread but this was interesting nonetheless

Bacteria 

@InvaderXan

Also super important to remeber that anti-bacterial stuff is actually whack as fuck and kills freindly bacteria an helps malicious bacteria get stronger.

Bacteria 

@Chickiepup Oh totally. If it kills 99.99% of bacteria then congratulations, in a few hours you'll have the same amount of bacteria again and won't be able to kill them this time!

Bacteria 

@InvaderXan

Broke: Bacteria bad
Woke: Bacteria is good for soil
Bespoke: GET THAT GOOD BACCA ALL UP IN ME M8

viruses • chemistry 

@InvaderXan aaaaaaah.
i thought it was a size / time thing

viruses • chemistry 

@meena Apparently not? I just thought this was interesting. It's one of those things I didn't realise till I read about it, but then I was like, yeah, that makes perfect sense

viruses • chemistry 

@InvaderXan Hey - just wanted to jump in here and clarify a couple of things. I've seen a lot of speculation too and in the literature things are a lot less clear. Most data right now is coming from the last SARS-CoV or similar and aren't about this one.

Importantly, not all viruses are enveloped. It's not clear to me at all that the envelope of this virus is necessary for infectiveness.

Springer has removed the paywall for SARS-CoV2 research
springernature.com/gp/research

viruses • chemistry 

@InvaderXan Also a useful resource from the WHO for those concerned about how to disinfect difficult areas, or to deal with a patient in the home:
who.int/publications-detail/wa

Note how often they use the words "existing evidence" "appears" "generally" and "likely."

There's a lot that is different about this critter and folks just do not know things for sure. It's best not to assume this is your garden-variety eukaryotic lipid bilayer.

viruses • chemistry 

@compostablespork @InvaderXan

Point of clarification, viruses are not eukaryotic

viruses • chemistry 

@dee @InvaderXan correct, which is why we shouldn't assume their membranes will behave as such

viruses • chemistry 

@compostablespork @InvaderXan

Making the point for anyone reading and not commenting as the thread started by mentioning viral lipid bilayers...

viruses • chemistry 

@dee @InvaderXan @compostablespork yup, but many viruses envelope themselves with the lipidic bilayer of the cells they infected on their way out.

viruses 

@compostablespork Scientific and clinical studies use those words because that's how science works TBH. We're never certain about anything.

Also, if there were significant differences in the lipid bilayer of these viruses, they probably wouldn't have been identified as coronaviruses. It's still a virus and still only has limited means of acquiring lipid layers – infected cells only have so many components which can be stolen and repurposed. And chemically speaking, one lipid bilayer is very much the same as another, provided you're using the same solvent.

In short, while it's wise to be concerned, it's important to remember that this virus may be a new strain, but is unlikely to be anything spectacularly different to what we've seen before.

viruses 

@compostablespork Though, of course, I could be wrong...

viruses 

@compostablespork You make a few valid points. While I'm no virologist, I do have a lot of knowledge about the chemical interactions involved...

Firstly, viruses which exist without envelopes are entirely different strains. They aren't simply the same virus with its envelope removed, in much the same way a slug isn't simply a snail without a shell.

Data on SARS and others is being used because they're all coronaviruses. Biologically, there may be significant variations in their behaviour and epidemiology b,ut chemically speaking, they're effectively identical.

Surfactants (soaps) can also disrupt and unfold proteins and RNA in viruses, deactivating them. Additionally, it dissolves viruses off your skin and into the water.

In other words, even if the soap doesn't denature the virus itself (and it almost certainly does), it'll remove it from your skin and into solution very effectively.

viruses 

@InvaderXan I don't feel comfortable saying that "chemically speaking" they're all identical. There's not enough data for that, imo. I don't actually want to discuss this since I don't know much. I am a researcher in a virus lab and I just know enough to know how much I don't know (nor is known.)

I agree - handwashing is good. But I'm also cautious about being overly certain about any of this.

viruses 

@compostablespork I said effectively identical. Sorry, I probably wasn't clear. My point was that they're unlikely to behave in a radically different way, chemically speaking.

But you're right, it's best not to be overly certain about things.

viruses • chemistry 

@InvaderXan Also, the main purpose of washing your hands isn't to *kill* viruses and bacteria; it's mainly to remove them from your body. Soap happens to kill certain classes of things quite well, as you say, but that's an unexpected benefit

Hand sanitizer has to kill everything. Soap doesn't need to: as long as the stuff is off your body, you've accomplished your goal. In high risk environments people wash AND sanitize; washing removes most, sani kills the rest.

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