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Center for Biocide Chemistries Helps EPA Rapidly Respond to Coronavirus

Currently, there is significant attention on the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel Coronavirus. The World Health Organization declared the new Coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China at the end of December, and the first case in the United States was reported on January 21.  Reports from China have varied, but it is believed that the virus has resulted in more than 2,000 confirmed cases and over 120 deaths in the country. 

It can be concerning when a virus, which doesn’t have a household name, is seemingly impacting the entire world. It is important people feel confident that there are protective measures and products they can use to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

This is why the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is taking this threat seriously and are proactively and aggressively working to detect and contain the virus to minimize risk to U.S. citizens. Simultaneously, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) are playing a role.

EPA evaluates biocides, also known as “antimicrobials,” in products, for their efficacy against viral pathogens, such as the current Coronavirus.  In instances where there is an outbreak of a less common and unpredictable pathogen, it is unlikely that any products have been tested to disinfect against this specific virus (compared to those more common pathogens that have been tested against over the years).  This makes it challenging for the Agency to be able to evaluate existing products in a timely manner against the emerging pathogen.

However, there are members of the CBC that are proactive thinkers, and have spent years conducting research to develop products that can be used for disinfection in cases such as this Coronavirus outbreak. And, the EPA has a rapid response program in place that allows and encourages manufacturers of biocidal products to bring those products to your attention.

Products produced by CBC members, deemed safe for their intended uses by EPA, are helping to reduce the transmission of disease-causing viruses such as the Coronavirus. When surfaces like floors, fixtures, and countertops are treated with disinfectants, it can help protect you and your family by preventing the spread of the virus. By using biocidal products, especially in crowded or high traffic spaces, harmful viruses, such as the Coronavirus, are killed and their spread halted. This critical role – helping to stop the spread of Coronavirus – helps agencies such as EPA and the CDC protect U.S. citizens and makes biocidal products an invaluable tool to keep you and your family safe.

In addition, practicing good hygiene on a regular basis, which is already important during this time of year, also relies on the use of household disinfectants (a type of biocidal product). 

In its efforts to help protect public health, the CDC and state health officials have identified some recommended precautions in response to this Coronavirus outbreak.  At this time, these precautions are the same as what is recommended for day-to-day prevention against respiratory viruses.  This includes:

  • Washing your hands;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For up-to-date information, and additional details about the Coronavirus and the outbreak in the U.S., please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

For more information on EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogen Claims guidance, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/guidance-registrants-process-making-claims-against-emerging-viral-pathogens

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