Coronavirus - why washing your hands is the best preventative measure!

By: Dr Brigitte Spitze B.Sc. (Wits), M.Dip.H (Natal)

In an effort to reduce the panic and provide you with ‘real news’, that is credible and well researched, I’ll send out emails as I come across information that endeavours to be valuable and implementable

How soap absolutely annihilates the coronavirus
According to says Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales, and an expert in supramolecular chemistry and the assembly of nanoparticles, soap destroys viruses in the following way:

Viruses are simple, but effective structures. They are made up of genetic material (RNA), proteins and lipids (fats). The lipids surround the virus, protecting it and enabling it to enter cells more easily (the membrane around our cells essentially consists of lipids). This viral structure has no strong (covalent) bonds holding it together. These bonds are hydrogen bonds and are lipophilic (literally fat-loving). In essence this means that viruses love other surface that have a lipids (fats) in them, rather than surfaces without fats, e.g. stainless steel. This is how the virus is ‘transmitted’ to the human body.


diagram of a virus cell

Soap contains amphiphiles, and these compete with the lipids in the viral membrane

The soap molecules then compete with the bonds holding the viral molecule together and causes the virus to break apart

The most common ingredient in soap is sodium lauryl sulphate, so when looking for hand washes or soap, please look for this

I’d like to point out that chemistry was never my favourite subject, but this I found fascinating!!!

Taken from the original twitter feed:

Hope you find this information useful and that it allows you to implement steps to prevent illness. In a situation like this, the more we can each do to look after our own health and keep the infection rate down, and keep the hospitals and emergency services for those who truly need it, both with respect to corona but also all the other medical conditions that need care, the better for all of us

Take care


Dr Brigitte Spitze

B.Sc. (Wits), M.Dip.H (Natal)
Reg. No. A7257   PR No. 0804401


Website © Dynamic Vision Optometrtists 2019

Designed and Hosted by
Howl at the Moon Design