Expert Pitch

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer to Prevent COVID-19

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 22, 2020) – Rutgers scholar Donald Schaffner,  an expert on microbial risk and handwashing, and the lead author of a 2017 study that found washing hands with cool water is just as effective as washing with hot water to remove pathogens, is available to comment on whether handwashing or hand sanitizer are better for preventing COVID-19. 

“Soap is often recommended over hand sanitizer because it dislodges dirt as well as many pathogens – but the available research suggests that both soap and sanitizer are highly effective at removing harmful viruses, so long as you use one or the other regularly and properly. Everyone should use all the tools at their disposal to stay healthy,” Schaffner said. 

While specific information is not available about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Schaffner pointed to a previous non-Rutgers study that looked at the effectiveness of disinfectants against the related coronavirus that causes SARS. The researchers found that alcohol-based hand rubs killed 99.99 percent or as much as 99.999 percent of SARS viruses, to the point that they became undetectable. 

Schaffner, a Distinguished Professor and extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, also offers advice on the best ways to kill coronavirus in the home, as well as advice for cleaning touchscreens and other essential items.

 

 

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino [email protected]

 

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.

 




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