TEHRAN (Iran News) – The mass use of hand gels during the coronavirus pandemic can allow bacteria to develop immunity, an expert has warned.
Dr Andrew Kemp, head of the Scientific Advisory Board on the British Institute of Cleaning Science, warns overuse of hand sanitizers can cause a superbug “armageddon situation”.
People across the world have been advised to use the sanitisers throughout the pandemic, applying them for months to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Mirror reported.
However, Dr Kemp told the Daily Express the use of hand gels should be a short-term solution only or risk potentially catastrophic consequences.
The Lincoln University academic said the best way to fight bacteria and viruses is by simply washing your hands regularly.
“Hand gels should only be used as a last resort and as a short term temporary measure or stop gap if soap and water are not available,” he explained.
“At the moment there is no published proof that alcohol gels killed COVID-19 itself.
“Even if they did kill 99.9 percent of all bacteria, there can be more than a million bacteria on your hands at any one time leaving 10,000 alive after sanitization.
“Recent research shows the surviving bugs which are not killed by alcohol gels are themselves highly dangerous pathogens and may increase in numbers.
“This means our routine use of gels could ultimately cause us more harm than good.”
The work was published in the American Journal of Biomedical Science and Research and will be presented at a leading conference on superbugs in Amsterdam in October.
It is likely to raise alarm among public health officials who have been advocating widespread use of gels to combat the spread of the disease.
The World Organisation recommends washing your hands with soap to protect against COVID-19 and has said there is no definitive proof sanitiser overuse can lead to superbugs.
The government’s Department for Health has advises hand washing for 20 seconds “using soap and water or hand sanitiser”.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The most effective means of preventing the spread of this virus remains to stay alert, follow social distancing rules, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces.”
Professor Jorgan Serup, a leading skin expert at the Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, and President of the Danish Atopic Eczema Association has also said alcohol can damage children’s hands.
- source : Tasnim, Iran News