Why we should be protecting our healthcare workers from coronavirus now

The World is watching the 2019-nCoV coronavirus epidemic unfold with increasing concerns as the death toll rises and the spread of the virus travels further and further from the epicentre of Wuhan city in China.

So far, the death toll stands at 170 people and Professor Neil Ferguson, a public health expert at Imperial College London, suspect that the potential total for people infected with the virus could be as high as 100,000.

Currently healthcare workers are most at risk of contracting the virus from infected patients, and not only those in China, as cases of 2019-nCoV have also been confirmed in at least 16 other countries including the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Australia. The view of viral experts is that it’s not a case of if the virus will be found in the UK, but when.

Currently the scientists at Imperial College London estimate that each infected individual is likely to pass on the virus to 2.6 people, but one super spreader has already been confirmed as passing the virus on to 14 healthcare workers in China. Infectious disease expert Dr Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota suspects that if there is one super spreader, there are bound to be more. ‘Once you’ve documented super spreading from one individual, you can pretty much anticipate it’s going to happen with multiple individuals,’

Compliance with good hygiene practises is therefore vitally important in hospitals, but doctor’s surgeries and out of hours health centres also need protection to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and the general public. 

Using products with proven efficacy against enveloped viruses like coronavirus is essential as simple antibacterial surface sprays are unlikely to be effective. As well as disinfecting the surfaces in patient’s rooms, surface sanitisers with specific antiviral efficacy should be used for all frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, telephones, vending machines and elevator buttons. 

Byotrol’s 4 in 1 Disinfectant Cleaner has successfully passed the European Standard EN 14476 test against coronavirus within 60 seconds. Byotrol 4 in 1 Disinfectant Cleaner is available as a ready-for-use spray or economical concentrate product.  

Whilst healthcare workers will be advised to wash and disinfect their hands more frequently, visitors in public spaces should also be encouraged to use an effective antiviral hand sanitiser. As the public becomes more aware of the virus being spread globally, it is expected that we will see an increase in usage rates of hand washing and hand sanitising facilities. It is essential that careful monitoring of these facilities takes place to ensure stocks are not exhausted and facilities left empty, encouraging a lack of hand hygiene compliance. 

Whilst the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises the use of an alcohol-based hand rub, cheap antibacterial hand gels may not be effective against viruses. Health & Safety Managers should check that any hand sanitiser used in their facility has proven efficacy against enveloped viruses to a recognised standard, to make sure that healthcare workers and visitors are well protected.

INVIRTU alcohol-free hand foam sanitiser, which is available via the UK’s Nation Health Service (NHS) supply chain, has been tested to European Standard EN 14476 against Vaccinia virus, which is the benchmark enveloped virus. INVIRTU is therefore considered effective against all enveloped viruses, including all strains of coronavirus in 30 seconds. INVIRTU hand foam sanitisers have been dermatologically tested and proven not to dry the skin with frequent use, meaning compliance can be maintained at all times.

The prevention of further transmission and infection is the responsibility of all parties and should be taken seriously by the management, staff and visitors of healthcare facilities. Compliance should be actively encouraged and monitored on a regular basis to minimise the spread of the virus as effectively as possible.









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