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New COVID-19 variants: is your disinfectant still effective?

Viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, evolve over time.1,2 When a virus is circulating through a population, like during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more likely to develop mutations (changes to the genetic material).2 Once there are several significant mutations to the virus, this is called a new strain, or variant, of the virus.1,2

How do variants of the coronavirus develop?

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus. This means that the virus has a lipid layer around it. Coronaviruses are so named because of the protein “spikes” on the surface of the virus, which give it a crown-like appearance. It is these “spikes” that allow the virus to interact with human cells.3 In the variants of the COVID-19 virus, the protein spikes are different from those of the original virus.3 This can raise concerns that the viruses are different in terms of time for transmission, or severity of disease.1-3

COVID-19 virus variants in Canada.

In Canada, there are several variants of concern that have been identified and are being tracked by provinces and the Public Health Agency of Canada, including B.1.1.7, B1.351 and P1.2,3 Variant B1.1.7 was first detected in the U.K.; B.1.351 in South Africa; and P.1 in Brazil.2,3Recently, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec have detected cases of the B1.617 variant that was first identified in India.4

It has been noted that the UK and South African variants appear to spread more rapidly than the original virus, though they do not appear to cause more severe cases of COVID-19.2,3 As the numbers of cases of these new variants increases, you may be wondering about whether disinfectants will still be effective.  

Effective cleaning and disinfection can help lower the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus.5

Disinfectant efficacy.

The good news is that as an enveloped virus, even the variants of SARS-CoV-2 are still susceptible to disinfectants.6

Health Canada maintains a list of disinfectants which have been demonstrated direct and indirect effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2.6 They also state that the disinfectants on this list are expected to be effective against all strains (variants) of SARS-CoV-2, as genetic changes in a virus are unlikely to affect the efficacy of a disinfectant.6

We know that effective disinfection is essential in helping to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.5,7,8 Since the COVID-19 virus is most likely to be on surfaces you frequently touch with your hands, Health Canada recommends that you clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly to help reduce the chance of spreading the virus.6

Check the Health Canada website to see if your disinfectant is on the list.

CloroxPro® can provide disinfection solutions.

CloroxPro® has a range of disinfectant products that have demonstrated direct efficacy against the COVID-19 virus. When used as directed, all these products are approved by Health Canada as effective at killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus, some of them in as little as 15 seconds on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Learn more about the CloroxPro® products that can be used against SARS-CoV-2

References

  1. World Health Organization. The effects of virus variants on COVID-19 vaccines. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-effects-of-virus-variants-on-covid-19-vaccines#:~:text=When%20a%20virus%20replicates%20or,of%20the%20original%20virus. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  2. Government of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  3. Tracking variants of the novel coronavirus in Canada. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/tracking-variants-of-the-novel-coronavirus-in-canada-1.5296141 Accessed May 13, 2021. 
  4. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-april-23-2021-1.5999347 Accessed April 29, 2021
  5. Government of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  6. Government of Canada. Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19): List of disinfectants with evidence for use against COVID-19. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/list.html. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  7. Health Europa. COVID-19 variants and implications for environmental hygiene. https://www.healtheuropa.eu/covid-19-variants-environmental-hygiene/106876/. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  8. Disinfectants with “virucidal activity against enveloped viruses” effective against SARS-CoV-2. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201111/Disinfectants-with-virucidal-activity-against-enveloped-viruses-effective-against-SARS-CoV-2.aspx. Accessed April 19, 2021.

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