Take a look at the latest guidance on using disinfectants to prevent the spread of coronavirus

by Brianna Crandall — February 24, 2020 — The Global BioRisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of worldwide cleaning industry association ISSA, has published additional guidance for cleaning and restoration professionals addressing the current outbreak of the novel (new) human coronavirus that causes the disease officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 2. The coronavirus is also referred to as SARS-CoV-2 or 2019ncov. ISSA also pointed to a new study on disinfectants published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, highlighted below.

GBAC tip sheet on disinfectants

GBAC’s third tip sheet details recommendations for the proper use of disinfectants to prevent the spread of virus. It explains the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) activation of the Emerging Viral Pathogen Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides (Guidance) in response to the discovery of the COVID-19 coronavirus. According to GBAC, EPA’s emerging pathogens guidance is only triggered after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has identified the emerging pathogen and recommended environmental surface disinfection to help control its spread.”

The EPA guidance enables companies holding current EPA registrations under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for certain disinfectant products to promote those products “off-label” for use against emerging pathogens like the coronavirus without waiting for the typical test data.

GBAC recommends that those who have questions about their favorite disinfectant refer to the manufacturer’s website to see if it has the emerging pathogens claim for the novel coronavirus, and reminds readers from other countries to review the specific requirements and approvals in their own country.

The new ISSA Tip Sheet (February 18, 2020) “Recommendations for USING DISINFECTANTS for the Cleaning and Forensic Restoration Industry in Response to SARS-CoV-2” is available for free download from the ISSA website. It contains links to official information and guidance on preparing for and dealing with a coronavirus outbreak.

Previous GBAC tip sheets

This tip sheet is the latest in a series from GBAC on the current coronavirus outbreak; the council previously issued guidance on personal protective equipment and risk assessment procedures, both available on the ISSA website.

Coronavirus resource page

In addition, updates have been made to the new ISSA/GBAC resource page Coronavirus: Prevention and Control for the Cleaning Industry, where you can access current information about the novel coronavirus. ISSA and GBAC continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the cleaning industry and are updating this page as important news develops.

This page will have updates such as:

  • Implementing worker protection and using appropriate disinfectants
  • Practicing precautionary measures and reducing the risk of infection
  • How to deal with controlling and/or preventing the spread of infectious diseases
  • Training and educational opportunities to reduce biohazard risks

For those who require immediate assistance or have questions about cleaning and disinfection in high-risk scenarios, ISSA gives this contact: Patty Olinger, executive director of GBAC.

JHI study on effective disinfectants

ISSA also cited a new study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection that found using a solution that is 62% to 72% ethanol, .5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within one minute of contact will kill the virus. In contrast, the scientists found that solutions containing 0.04% benzalkonium chloride, 0.06% sodium hypochlorite and 0.55% ortho-phtalaldehyde were less effective.

Investigators stressed that using the proper solution is only one part of the equation and that cleaning and disinfection procedures must be followed consistently and correctly to be effective, pointed out ISSA.

Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents” is available on the JHI website.

See also “Coronavirus — tips for preparation, biohazard cleaning, protective equipment and risk assessment, from ISSA” on the FMLink website.