The Environmental Protection Agency approved a spray that’s known to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on contact, the developer said Thursday.
North America Home Care, an arm of Proctor & Gamble, said its Microban 24 Sanitizing Spray was found to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global pandemic.
Already available at most retail outlets, the spray is shown to kill 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses it comes into contact with, including the common cold and flu viruses. While it offers 24-hour protection against some common bacterial strains, the developers said it does not provide 24-hour residual protection against viruses.
Frank Esper, a doctor with the Cleveland Clinic and a company advisor, said that, without a vaccine, it’s important for people to sanitize.
“With delays in COVID-19 virus testing, having any infection may lead to significant disruptions at home, school, and work,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, over the coming cold and flu season, it will be especially important to ensure protection against viruses and bacteria that can cause infections.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday he felt confident a vaccine might be available yet this year, but it would only diminish the chances of showing COVID-19 symptoms, not offer a cure.
Health officials in the Northern Hemisphere are concerned the onset of colder weather will make people more susceptible to colds and flus, as well as SARS-CoV-2.
Akiki Iwasaki, a Yale immunologist, told health news agency STAT last week that colder air and less humidity means drier conditions that limit how mucus can protect against foreign invaders like the novel coronavirus, placing a premium on sanitization and disinfection.
The spray is not a drug and should not be ingested. Drugs in the U.S. are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, not the EPA.