Is hypochlorous acid effective against monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeyvirus. It is primarily spread through close contact with infected bodily fluids or lesions, though it can also be spread through touching infected surfaces or objects. Monkeyvirus is an enveloped virus, which means it is easier to disinfect because it is surrounded by a protein shell that can be easily dismantled by temperature and pH, exposing the virus inside to the lethal power of the disinfectant. The protein shell also contains the infectious components of the virus, so once the disinfectant has broken down the shell, the virus is unable to reproduce.
The good news is that enveloped viruses are some of the easiest to inactivate with disinfectants. Oxidizing agents (such as hypochlorous acid) have been proven to be the most effective at inactivating enveloped viruses. There are currently 29 hypochlorous acid products listed on the EPA's list of disinfectants for emerging viral pathogens (which includes monkeypox). This list requires the disinfectant manufacturers to provide proof of disinfectant efficacy prior to being added to the list.
Because monkeypox is an emerging public health concern, there are not currently many peer-reviewed scientific studies on the efficacy of disinfectants against this virus. However, as was the situation with coronavirus, it is likely there will be many studies forthcoming in the following months, and this post will be updated accordingly.
The majority of existing disinfectant research has been done on orthopox and vaccinia viruses, the family of viruses of which monkeypox is a part. A review published this month by Kampf in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that sodium hypochlorite bleach (a less effective form of chlorine) was effective against vaccinia viruses on contaminated surfaces at 0.525% (500ppm) in three minutes (2022).
Other studies have found sodium hypochlorite is effective against surfaces contaminated with vaccinia viruses at 0.25% (250 ppm) and 2.5% (2,500 ppm) with one minute contact time. As hypochlorous acid is the active disinfecting ingredient in sodium hypochlorite, it can be concluded that hypochlorous at the same strength would be equally as effective.
Hypochlorous acid is a strong oxidizer that is non-toxic and effective on porous and non-porous surfaces. It can be produced onsite at your home or business with an electrolysis machine using only water, salt, and vinegar, and has been proven to be 85 times more effective than bleach at inactivating pathogens. It has proven efficacy against SARS Covid-19 at <100 ppm in under 1 minute.
Until more research is published on the inactivation requirements of monkeypox, we cannot make any claims about hypochlorous acid. This is a report of what we do know at this time; use this information at your own discretion.
US EPA, O. (2022, May 25). Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens (EVPs): List Q. Www.epa.gov. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/disinfectants-emerging-viral-pathogens-evps-list-q#search
Kampf, G. (2022). Efficacy of biocidal agents and disinfectants against the monkeypox virus and other orthopoxviruses. Journal of Hospital Infection, 127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2022.06.012
Ferrier, A., Garin, D., & Crance, J. M. (2004). Rapid inactivation of vaccinia virus in suspension and dried on surfaces. Journal of Hospital Infection, 57(1), 73–79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2004.01.012
Nguyen, K., Bui, D., Hashemi, M., Hocking, D. M., Mendis, P., Strugnell, R. A., & Dharmage, S. C. (2021). The Potential Use of Hypochlorous Acid and a Smart Prefabricated Sanitising Chamber to Reduce Occupation-Related COVID-19 Exposure. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 14, 247–252. https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S284897
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