There are hand sanitizers, and there are hand sanitizers. A relatively new potent product helps protect against the Norovirus, H1N1 flu virus and the Rotavirus, which is the most common cause of diarrhea in children. But now a product is being tested in the fight against a deadly virus which has recently killed nearly 7,000 people.
A new sanitizer could help treat and care for patients with the Ebola virus and health care workers in West Africa.
"The fact that it can be applied before they put the gloves on and their whole suit and still be providing protection when they're taking
it off and removing it which is the most dangerous time for healthcare workers,"
The product, called Zylast is already being used in hospitals and schools worldwide. And it's been chosen in the Fighting Ebola Grand
Challenge, put on by USAID in partnership with the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Defense.
The company says a small bottle of
costs less than $4. And it takes less of this product compared to other sanitizers to kill viruses. Also, rather than lasting just seconds, Zylast is supposed to be effective for several hours.
"Your standard alcohol sanitizer does a good job of killing the germs that's on your hand immediately, but it only lasts for 15 seconds,
so your hands can become re-contaminated by the next surface that you touch," Cozean said.
He explained, "Zylast is different. It's persistent for six hours. So even after that, you're still touching things, it's killing the
germs that are coming in contact with your hands."
And that's key in clinics and hospitals where doctors are trying to save the lives of highly contagious Ebola patients. As of now 10 percent
of the Ebola casualties have been health care workers.
As part of winning the Ebola Grand challenge, Zylast will be tested in the U.S. Government lab for the Ebola virus, which is rare. And
it could be shipped to West Africa to be tested in a real life setting.