Politicians throughout this outbreak, and previous outbreaks, have said that the advice is to make sure you wash your hands. Have you ever wondered why?
Okay, let’s have a go. Biology is not my usual subject area, so I am paraphrasing from somebody I know, who does have some idea how biology works.
You heard of lipids, right? Think back to your last cholesterol test – LDL, HDL? Those are low-density and high-density lipids that are being measured. If you’re still in the dark, no problem, they are defined here (Wikipedia), or an easier-to-read explanation here on some medicine-explained site.
Keep that in your mind. The structure of any virus – regular flu, COVID-19, any of them – is that you have the key part of the virus (the RNA – like DNA, but for viruses), but that is surrounded by this envelope of lipids. These are what protect the virus, they form a barrier around it. This is why it can sit on a surface and remain active for hours or even days.
Take away those lipids, and the virus is screwed. No protection, so it can’t survive on its own.
Lipids happen to be soluble in soap. Common or garden soap, that we have all been using forever. So, you get soap on your hands, it dissolves the lipids protecting the virus, the virus dies. Simple as, but who knew?
My mate compared the situation to when we would paint something. To rinse the brush in water was no good, but rinsing it in turpentine got the brush clean. It’s the exact same process going on – paint is soluble in turps.
Incidentally, anti-bacterial? Forget it, this is a virus, not a bacteria. You’re wasting your money if you pay extra.
I guess there’s a moral here. If somebody tells you to do something, ask ’em why. Ask questions. I haven’t heard any of this through the media, just through my network of friends – I’m fortunate enough to know some intelligent people.
This is not really related to the post, but it is related to the virus. Friday evening, I heard my first “success story” personally.
Okay, okay, I know how bad things can be, but I went on about this last week. The media are concentrating on the worst cases because they are more newsworthy.
This guy is a 28yo male. I have no idea whether he has other health issues, but I assume not, at age 28. He is the son of a friend’s workmate, so the link is not very strong, but it is at least a case I have known personally. He fell ill Tuesday with the virus. He stayed home, felt rough for a few days. On Friday (yesterday), he was starting to feel better. He described it as feeling just like flu. I guess he’s intending keeping his head down until next Tuesday at least – the advice here is seven days.
Okay, I know many of us do have other health issues, but I just wanted to make you aware of a “best case” scenario, because the media isn’t doing so. I know too that we are being warned not to compare this thing to flu so as not to trivialise it, but those were the words of somebody directly affected.