Amid the cornavirus breakdown just thought to do a small research soap
Have you ever imagined why does the soap work so well on the cornavirus?
The short story : because the virus is a self assemble nanoparticle in which the weakest link in the lipid bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies or rather becomes inactive .
The slightly longer story is that most virus consists of three building blocks RNA,proteins,lipids. A virus infected cells makes a lot of these building blocks which then spontaneousely self assemble to form the virus. Critically ,there are no strong covalent bonds holding these units together which means you do not necessarily need harsh chemicals to spilt those units apart. When an infected cell dies all these new virus escape and go to infect other cells some end up also in the airways of lungs.
When you cough , or especially when you sneeze tiny droplet from the airways can fly upto 10 meters. The larger ones are thought to be the main cornavirus carriers and they can go at least two meters.
These tiny droplets end on surface and often dry out quickly. But the virus remain active. Human skin is an ideal surface for a virus. It is an ” organic” and the protein and fatty acids in the dead cells on the surface interact with the virus.
When you touch say a steel surface with a virus particle on it ,it will stick to your skin and hence get transferred on to your hands. If you then touch your face ,especially your eyes, nostrils or mouth you can get infected. And it turns out the most people touch there face one in every two to five minutes.
Washing the virus off with water alone might work. But water is not good at competing with the strong glue like interactions between the skin and the virus ,water isn’t enough .
Soapy water is totally different. Soap contains fat like structure known as amphiphiles , some of which are structurally every similar to the lipids in the virus membrane. The soap molecules compete with lipids in the virus membrane. This is more or less how the soap also removes normal dirt from the skin. Then some not only loosens the glue between the virus and the skin but also the velcro like interactions that holds the protein ,lipids and RNA the virus together.
Alcohol based products which pretty much includes all disinfectant products contains a high percentage of alcohol ( typically 60%-80% ethanol) and kill the virus on the similar fashion. But soap is better because you only need a fairy small amount of soap water , which with rubbing , cover your entire hand easily. Where as you need literally soak the virus in the ethanol for a brief moment, and wipes or rubbing a gel on the hands does not guarantee that you soak every corner of the skin on your hands effectively enough. So soap is the best , but do use alcohol based sanitiser when soap is not handy or practical. #STAY SAFE# STAY HOME.