“OMG this disinfectant kills HIV!!!!” is a statement that I have encountered on more than one occasion. Needless to say, each time I’m presented with it I give a little chuckle. You see, for those of us with a rudimentary understanding of microbiology and more specifically how microorganisms interact with disinfectants, this is akin to stating that you’re surprised or relieved that a 12 gauge shotgun will be effective at killing a pesky mosquito.As Nicole highlighted in her blog posting “Strength is NOT always found in numbers”, there is a hierarchy in the microbial world with respect to the susceptibility of microbes to disinfection. HIV is but one of the numerous enveloped viruses that rank at the very bottom of this ladder. In other words, enveloped viruses – including HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Influenza A – are exceptionally easy to kill with disinfectants. In fact, not a single hospital grade disinfectant should have an issue in rapidly and effectively eradicating HIV and other enveloped viruses from the surface. Clearly HIV, HBV, HCV and Influenza remain very clinically relevant pathogens, however because they are so easily inactivated via disinfection, there is no need to focus so greatly on these as critically important disinfection claims. Instead, greater attention should be given to a disinfectant’s effectiveness at killing much more difficult, but equally relevant pathogens such as Norovirus or Rotavirus. As always Nicole and I hope that these little tidbits of information will assist you in making more informed decisions when selecting or evaluating disinfectants.
Hasta la vista!
Lee – The Germinator