Infectious diseases expert advises on choosing optimum alcohol content in sanitising product

(Adapted from The Star, Malaysia)

While members of the public take hygienic precautions in this time of a global viral outbreak, perhaps some are as yet unaware that too high an alcohol content in sanitising products may not be effective when it comes to warding off viruses.

An expert says that there is such a thing as too high alcohol content when it comes to sanitising.

75% alcohol is the optimum level in disinfecting the coronavirus.

The market is saturated with numerous alcohol-based disinfection products, with some claiming potency in destroying the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 disease).

However, Chinese infectious disease expert Li Lanjuan begs to differ.

In a Chinese broadcast media TV interview in January, Li said that not all alcohol disinfectants are efficient at killing the virus.

“Previous reports by the National Health Commission in China state that, outside the body, the virus cannot survive if it is exposed to 56 degrees after 30 minutes.

“Disinfectants of 75% ether alcohol, chlorine, peroxides and so on can effectively inactivate the virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, has recommended for us to use disinfectant with a concentration of 75%, ” said Li.

Effective sanitising in a convenient pack

In order to make disinfectant more convenient, Singapore-based Alcosm Pte Ltd is the first Asian brand to introduce to the Malaysian market, Alcosm 75% alcohol concentration wet wipes.

“We believe that prevention is better than cure, ” said Alcosm Pte Ltd co-founder and managing director Tai Zi Kang.

“As such, we are very stringent about following the well-researched WHO recommendation of keeping the alcohol content to 75% in order to make sanitising effective for our consumers.

“As much as we clean or sanitise our hands, ” Tai added, “personal belongings such as handbags, handphones, keyboards, purses, steering wheels and wallets are often overlooked.

“Laboratory tests of personal belongings such as handbags and handphones have shown that they contain more germs than toilet seats. Hence, at a time when the world is experiencing a pandemic, we would like to make sanitising of hands and personal belongings more convenient by producing wipes, ” Tai said, adding that in making the wipes, Alcosm also took into consideration users’ comfort and practicality.

Asian consumers, Tai believes, like the convenience of wipes. He disclosed that the company, through its distributor Zupital Holdings Sdn Bhd has sold over 20,000 packs in less than five days since the launch of its website at on March 31,2020.

In order to fulfill the demand from the Malaysian market, Alcosm Pte Ltd is distributing 500,000 packs of the alcohol wipes to more than 1,500 convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies in the country including but not limited to Watsons, 7-Eleven, BIG Pharmacy, Caring, Village Grocer, Jaya Grocer and Family Mart.