Is the solution effective against the coronavirus?
The Toucan Eco solution is proven to be more than 99.999% effective against harder-to-kill viruses than the coronavirus.
However, we need to put this in context to explain what it means.
There currently isn’t any disinfectant or sanitiser on the market that can make a specific claim to kill the new strain of coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. This is due to the simple fact that the virus outbreak only began in December 2019 and it hasn’t been available to test.
Currently, there aren’t any accredited laboratories in the UK testing disinfectants against the Covid-19 virus (called coronavirus SARS-CoV-2). And, as it can take more than a year to get a viral claim approved by a regulatory agency, this isn’t going to change overnight.
For this reason, biocide regulatory agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) enacted a hierarchy-based policy. This means that if a product has been found to be effective against harder-to-kill viruses, then it’s highly likely to kill this one.
And, a product that’s likely to be the most effective will be proven to have a high kill rate (or log reduction) against at least one other non-enveloped virus – we explain what this means below – such as norovirus, feline calicivirus, poliovirus, rhinovirus or reovirus. This theory is the basis by how EPA and ECHA assesses the efficacy of biocides against viruses.
Back to Toucan Eco. The solution is proven to have an effective kill rate against norovirus and poliovirus with log reductions of 5 (99.999%) and 6 (99.9999%) respectively; both harder-to-kill viruses than the coronavirus.
“The best science indicates that ECAS (electrochemically activated solution) is effective against coronavirus,” explains Professor Darren Reynolds (BSc, PhD), Professor of Health and Environment in the Department of Applied Sciences at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
“There has been a lot of research into biocidal properties of ECAS, including its effect on a range of bacteria, spores and viruses. This effectiveness can confidently be applied to the virus SARS-CoV-2.”
How easy is the coronavirus to kill?
A virus is made up of a core of genetic material (either DNA or RNA), surrounded by a protective coat called a capsid, which is made up of protein. Sometimes the capsid is surrounded by an additional spikey coat called an envelope.
Viruses are generally categorised into three groups based on its structure, and this relates to the effectiveness of disinfectants in killing viruses.
- Enveloped viruses are easiest to kill. An example is influenza A virus.
- Large, non-enveloped viruses are more difficult to kill. An example is rotavirus.
- Small, non-enveloped viruses are hardest to kill. Examples include the rhinovirus and norovirus.
Coronaviruses fall into this first group and are enveloped viruses, meaning because of its spikey coat they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with soap and disinfectant.
This lipid (or fatty) coat is its weakest link and soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart “like a house of cards and dies,” explains Pall Thordarson, a professor of chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, in an article featured recently in the Guardian.
As with most viruses, coronavirus is unstable and won’t last long outside of the body on surfaces. Even prolonged dry conditions or certain UV light will kill, let alone disinfectants including Toucan Eco, washing with soap or alcohol-based gels.
What other benefits are there with Toucan Eco?
We already know now that the solution has high kill rates against norovirus and poliovirus – both standard methodologies for testing biocides for viruses – showing log reductions of 5 (99.999%) and 6 (99.9999%) respectively. We can also add to this that the solution has very fast contact times and low regrowth rates.
It’s certified to EN 14476 and EN 16777 for antiviral disinfectants and EN 1276 and 13697 for antibacterial disinfectants – you would expect that when it’s being used in commercial applications – but a huge benefit is that once you have the device installed onsite, as you make the solution yourself, you’ll never run out.
And it’s also safe and hypoallergenic, which means it’s safe to leave on surfaces and doesn’t have to be rinsed off, so it will continue to kill microorganisms. And it can also be applied in mist form to disinfect larger areas too.
Finally, as it’s safe, it can also be used for personal hygiene in the same way as alcohol and antibacterial hand gels, with the added benefit of not drying out hands and cracking skin with frequent use.
How is the coronavirus transmitted?
“When you cough, or especially when you sneeze, tiny droplets from the airways can fly up to 10 metres,” explained Professor Thordarson. “The larger ones are thought to be the main coronavirus carriers and they can go at least two metres.”
Professor Thordarson goes on to explain: “these tiny droplets end up on surfaces and often dry out quickly. But the viruses remain active. Human skin is an ideal surface for a virus. It is organic and the proteins and fatty acids in the dead cells on the surface interact with the virus.”
So, when you touch a surface with a virus particle on it, it will stick to you and get transferred on to your hands. If you then touch your face, especially your eyes, nostrils or mouth, you can get infected. And, on average people touch their face once every two to five minutes – that’s how it’s commonly believed to be transferred within a population. This is why it’s vitally important to keep work surfaces and hands hygienically clean.
Any tips for general cleaning?
The general advice is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or Toucan Eco solution. Cover coughs and sneezes, don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and as the coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces wipe down surfaces with disinfectant, especially high touch points.
Please avoid close contact with people who are sick, and if you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
Finally, if you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.