Soap and the Coronavirus

You may be wondering why and how humble soap and water are the first line of defense against the coronavirus. 

The coronavirus is a packet of genetic material held inside a membrane made of lipids (fats) and studded with protein "spikes" that help the virus break into cells. Soap breaks up the bonds holding the lipid membrane together the same way it breaks up the grease on a frying pan. 

Using soap and water also breaks the bonds that let dirt, viruses, and bacteria cling to your skin. Scrubbing and then rinsing your hands washes it away. 

Although hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol does dissolve the virus's lipid membrane, it's not as good as soap and water at unsticking it from your skin. 

There's no need to use antibacterial soap—after all, we're dealing with a virus here. But bar soap, liquid soap, all natural or mass produced—it's all good. Just as long as you use it. 

We look forward to making jokes (and trying to sell you stuff) in the near future—but for now, just wash your hands, binge some good TV, and take care of yourselves.


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