WHO-recommended hand disinfectants inactivate monkeypox viruses

Alcohol-based disinfectants are effective against enveloped viruses.

Pox viruses can be transmitted not only through direct contact with body fluids, but also via contaminated hands. “To prevent the spread of monkeypox, good hand hygiene is therefore essential,” points out lead author Dr. Toni Meister.

To test the effectiveness of the disinfectants recommended by the WHO, the researchers brought the viruses into contact with one of the recommended WHO formulations as well as with their main components ethanol and isopropanol individually. After an exposure time of 30 seconds, they determined the number of virus particles that were still infectious compared to the baseline value. “We could show that both WHO disinfectants sufficiently inactivate the virus,” says Professor Eike Steinmann.

Since most commercial disinfectants also contain ethanol or isopropanol, they should also inactivate the virus. “The critical factor is the concentration of the ingredients, but you can usually read this on the packaging,” says Toni Meister. “Disinfectants containing 40 to 60 per cent ethanol by volume or 40 per cent isopropanol or more are effective against monkeypox.”

WHO-recommended formulations

WHO-recommended disinfectant I consists of 80 per cent ethanol by volume, 1.45 per cent glycerol by volume and 0.125 per cent hydrogen peroxide by volume. Disinfectant II consists of 75 per cent by volume isopropanol, 1.45 per cent by volume glycerol and 0.125 per cent by volume hydrogen peroxide.