Is your facility’s disinfectant up to the task when it comes to COVID-19?
Decon7 Systems provides a disinfectant that effectively neutralizes the novel coronavirus and a variety of other biological threats
Sponsored by Decon7 Systems
By Rachel Zoch, Corrections1 BrandFocus Staff
COVID-19 is becoming a serious problem in correctional facilities. Although most people recover, the health risks associated with the rapidly spreading virus can be quite serious and even deadly. By May 1, 2020, more than 1 million people in the U.S. had tested positive for COVID-19, including nearly 1,700 federal inmates and 350 federal Bureau of Prisons staff. Thousands more in state and county jails and prisons are at risk of contracting and spreading the potentially deadly disease.
That risk is especially high in the close quarters of a correctional environment, where social distancing is all but impossible. In fact, by April 21, nearly 80% of the inmates in one Ohio prison had tested positive for COVID-19, along with roughly one-third of the prison’s workforce.
SLOW THE SPREAD
The CDC released guidelines for correctional facilities in March that include the following recommendations for cleaning/disinfecting and infection control practices:
- Several times per day, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, especially in common areas. Such surfaces may include objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, sink handles, countertops, toilets, toilet handles, recreation equipment, kiosks and telephones).
- Staﬀ should clean shared equipment several times per day and on a conclusion of use basis (e.g., radios, service weapons, keys, handcuﬀs).
- Use household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants eﬀective against the virus that causes COVID-19 as appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. This may require lifting restrictions on undiluted disinfectants.
As inmates and advocates nationwide have begun filing lawsuits related to COVID-19 and fear of the causing unrest, what can correctional facilities do to follow the CDC guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus behind bars?
Decon7 Systems provides a patented formula that can neutralize infectious hazards, including viruses. The D7 disinfectant has proved effective against various contaminants, including the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and it is already being used to disinfect facilities. D7 is available in bulk liquid, as well as a ready-to-use unit.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Viruses are not exactly “alive,” but they are parasitic, using living hosts (like us) to reproduce. To understand how to break down viruses, think of an egg. Each virus has an outer shell, made of proteins and fats, that surrounds and protects the genetic material inside. Those proteins also help the virus attach to and infect host cells. To “kill” the virus, that protective coat must be chemically “cracked open” or broken down. This is where Decon7 Systems comes in.
“We know that in order to effectively kill this virus, disinfectants need to not only break down the viral coat, but also penetrate and render the RNA inactive,” said Dr. Mark Tucker, Decon7’s chief scientific officer. “Bleach and other disinfectants cannot get past the viral coat; however, D7 has a detergent component that will break down that coat of mucus and/or saliva.”
The three-part D7 formula, like most broad-spectrum disinfectant products, must be mixed at the time of use. The disinfectant can be applied on hard, nonporous and porous surfaces via foaming apparatus, low-pressure sprayers, mopping and soaking systems, and it has been found effective for use in a variety of environments, from hospitals to household kitchens and bathrooms.
The solution, which is quick to deploy and does not require scrubbing, can effectively clean and disinfect surfaces by decomposing pathogens like the novel coronavirus in a matter of minutes.
WHY D7 IS BETTER THAN BLEACH
The D7 formula offers several advantages over other decontamination solutions, such as bleach and peracetic acid, says Tucker, which can be effective on some hazards but also corrosive and toxic. In particular, he cautions, bleach may be a poor choice when it comes to the coronavirus.
Although bleach solutions can neutralize many biological and chemical agents, these aqueous formulations run down walls and vertical surfaces, making it difficult to achieve the contact time needed to effectively disinfect the area. Because the D7 solution creates foam, it keeps the disinfectant in contact with surfaces for extended periods of time, including vertical and overhead surfaces.
“Because bleach is only available in aqueous formulations, it doesn’t penetrate into porous surfaces very well,” said Tucker. “Also, bleach is not as effective at removing organic loading, such as grease, grime and biofilms, so it may not actually come into contact with bacteria and viruses. The detergents in D7 allow it to penetrate through organic material and kill bacteria and viruses.”
Hydrogen peroxide is a key active ingredient of D7, and the detergents not only help the formula cut through grease, grime and biofilms, they also enable it to break easily into droplets that can get into contaminated nooks and crannies that are hard to reach and clean. This allows the hydrogen peroxide to penetrate to the interior of the contaminants for a complete kill, says Tucker.
Also, unlike bleach, the D7 disinfectant formula can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including plastics and metals, and it creates no noxious fumes or odors. D7 also eradicates smells, a definite plus in close quarters like a correctional facility.
Although D7 complies with environmental regulations, it is not FDA-approved for skin application. Users should wear gloves and goggles, plus a mask and protective clothing when applying the solution in close quarters.