EPA approves first two cleaning sprays that kill the coronavirus in 2 minutes

Elise Solé
·4 min read
Two Lysol disinfectant sprays are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to  July 6, 2020 announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo: Lysol)
Two Lysol disinfectant sprays are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to July 6, 2020 announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo: Lysol)

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol Disinfectant Sprays that can effectively kill SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in just two minutes, the government agency announced Monday.

Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist are the first two disinfectants to be approved for their ability to kill the virus. In May, the CDC recommended that people clean homes with common EPA-registered household disinfectants, which were expected to kill SARS-CoV-2, “harder to kill” viruses and other types of coronaviruses. However, the EPA’s new announcement names two products that are specifically effective against SARS-CoV-2.

“These products are distinct because of how they’ve been tested,” an EPA spokesperson tells Yahoo Life. “As SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, it has only recently become available for laboratory testing. These two products are the first for which EPA has completed its review of laboratory testing data confirming that the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2 when used according to the label directions.” The spokesperson adds that users should allow the substance to remain wet on surfaces for two minutes before wiping clean.

“EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a joint press release with Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser. “EPA's review of products tested against this virus marks an important milestone in President Trump’s all of government approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is mainly spread person-to-person through the transmission of respiratory droplets when individuals are within six feet of one another. Droplets from sneezing, coughing or loud talking can jump into another person’s mouth or nose or be inhaled through the lungs. Per the health agency, touching contaminated objects and then touching the mouth, nose or maybe the eyes is a less common route of transmission.

In addition to cleaning product and hand sanitizer shortages, there is a popular movement to disinfect grocery store packages, prompted by a New England Journal of Medicine study showing that SARS-CoV-2 can linger for hours on surfaces like plastic and cardboard. However, both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have cited lack of evidence to support transmission in that manner.

A complementary peer-reviewed study commissioned by Reckitt Benckiser and published in the American Journal of Infection Control indicated that Lysol products showed “the effectiveness of well-known brands like Lysol products to combat COVID-19, indicating greater than 99.9 percent efficacy against SARS-CoV-2.”

“The Lysol products are effective at killing SARS-CoV-2 because they contain the active ingredient dimethyl benzyl ammonium saccharinate, which breaks open the virus and destroys it,” Bill Wuest, Ph.D. an associate professor of chemistry at Emory University, tells Yahoo Life.

As of Tuesday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit 2,966,409, according to ongoing data by Johns Hopkins University. And according to the New York Times, the World Health Organization announced that airborne transmission of the coronavirus in “crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings, cannot be ruled out.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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