Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Is Hibiclens soap?

The question arose in a FB discussion as to whether Hibiclens would be effective in hand washing against the virus.  I wanted to memorialize our discussion.

The idea of soap is that it is a wetting agent.  It makes surfaces slippery.  This makes it easier to remove dirt -- including germs. Soap does also dissolve lipids.  Now what I need to check out is this stuff I've seen about virus coatings being lipids.

Skimming this article, it seems like at least SARS had a lipid bilayer with protein inside https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-019-1182-0

This one says there's a lipid envelope for this virus

This one says soap does break the lipid envelope

I looked through the hibiclens website and they do not mention viruses

This is a Wikipedia article defining "soap" as a "salt of a fatty acid". In order to qualify it has to have an alkyl and a metal ion. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap

This website has a list of ingredients for Hibiclens. I am not seeing one that matches the chemical description listed in Wikipedia.

Chlorhexidine gluconate solution 4.0% w/v

fragrance, gluconolactone, isopropyl alcohol 4% w/v, lauramine oxide, poloxamer 237, purified water and red 40

I now looked up these ingredients.

This is what I get when I search for lauramine oxide. It's a foaming agent, but it does not include a metal ion, therefore it is not a soap.

This is an article about the active ingredient. Again there is no metal ion, so it is not a soap


The other mysterious ingredient, is a surfactant, polaxamer or 237. These are non-ionic. They do not contain a metal ion. Therefore they are not a "soap."

I have to conclude that Hibiclens is not a "soap."  It might foam like "soap," but that doesn't mean that it has the ability to dissolve lipids that soap has.

 I looked on their website, as I said above, and there is no mention of it being effective against viruses. I searched their help section for "virus" and found nothing. I feel the chemistry is very important here. Hibiclens may be a wetting agent, like soap, in that it makes things slippery; but, if it lacks the ionic form of soap, it probably lacks the ability to dissolve the lipid envelope around the virus. Ions are very important in the chemistry of dissolution.

Dissolving lipids is a key soap property that should help kill the virus.

More about lauramine oxide



Chemicals considered detergents


Lauramine oxide is listed -- therefore it should have oil dissolving properties.

Meme about coronavirus

I don't know if this is valid.  I do not have a link from Johns Hopkins to this information. It does purport to be from Johns Hopkins, but one never knows. I have found a couple of other links.

A link


Another link


This was the meme:


* The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.

* Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.

* The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat. That is why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam CUTS the FAT (that is why you have to rub so much: for 20 seconds or more, to make a lot of foam).

By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.

* HEAT melts fat; this is why it is so good to use water above 25 degrees Celsius for washing hands, clothes and everything. In addition, hot water makes more foam and that makes it even more useful.

* Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

* Any mix with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, breaks it down from the inside.

* Oxygenated water helps long after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein, but you have to use it pure and it hurts your skin.

* NO BACTERICIDE OR ANTIBIOTIC SERVES. The virus is not a living organism like bacteria; antibodies cannot kill what is not alive.

* NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or cloth. While it is glued to a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only

-between 3 hours (fabric and porous),

-4 hours (copper and wood)

-24 hours (cardboard),

- 42 hours (metal) and

-72 hours (plastic).

But if you shake it or use a feather duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose.

* The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars.

They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster.

* UV LIGHT on any object that may contain it breaks down the virus protein. For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin.

* The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

* Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

* NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol, and you need 65%.

* LISTERINE IF IT SERVES! It is 65% alcohol.

* The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.

* You have to wash your hands before and after touching mucosa, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. And when using the bathroom.

* You have to HUMIDIFY HANDS DRY from so much washing them, because the molecules can hide in the micro cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better.

* Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.

-JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL The Johns Hopkins Hospital is ranked among nation's best

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Make leaf blowing illegal

Why I think leaf blowing is particularly dangerous for COVID-19 spread

When we talk about the survival time of viruses on surfaces, we’ve been seeing research about man-made services: copper, cardboard, plastic, steel.

The ground is a much more complex environment. There are bits and pieces of things. There’s moisture. There are nutrients. It would require a serious scientific study to determine what sorts of ground environments are best for survival of the virus.

There was an article a couple of weeks ago in Scientific American where they described a Chinese scientist who discovered a virus and 97% similar to this one in a bat cave in China in 2013. From this, most scientists have concluded that the virus did originate in a bat cave. Bat caves have complex environments, as well.

Consider the ground, in a cool, moist, spring environment. The underside of a small leaf bit could be an ideal place for a virus to hide from the disinfecting ultraviolet rays of the sun. Using a high-powered blower to rocket that leaf bit into the air could be a very dangerous way of aerosolizing the virus.

This is a pandemic. We know people have been coughing and spitting all over the place. The virus could be literally anywhere.

I doubt that there has been time to do a careful scientific study of the effects of leaf blowing right now. We cannot rely on previous studies of the effects of leaf blowing to understand the consequences of this activity on covid-19.

I call upon the state of New York to declare leaf blowing Illegal. Also power mowers without bags should be illegal.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Argument for requiring masks -- even if they're DIY

There is now an official peer reviewed Study stating the novel coronavirus is viable in the air for up to three hours.

This means that, if you walk past where someone recently exhaled, you could inhale viable virus.  This could happen even if you're six feet apart.  You can normally walk six feet in 2-3 seconds, which is not long enough for the virus to fall to the ground.

I'm upset that we've been getting this advice to not wear masks.  This advice has been extremely irresponsible and not founded in science. 

The following article on DIY masks states that even ordinary tee shirt fabric would filter out 50% of viruses, which is better than nothing.  We have people get flu shots that are less effective than that.

By contrast, in the case of colds and flu, hand washing has been found to be only about 20% effective in preventing spread. It's more effective in preventing spread of digestive viruses.

This extreme emphasis on hand washing and no masks is putting everyone at risk.

In China, where they have succeeded in slowing spread of the virus, everyone is required to wear a mask.

I believe we should require everyone to wear a mask outside their homes -- and, given that there is a shortage of disposable masks, we should be supplying everyone with washable, reusable masks.  My understanding is that various clothing factories are retooling to make such masks. They might not be as good as an N95 mask, but they are better than nothing.

Here are some more instructions for making your own mask

And here’s a cite that seems to undermine the whole hand washing thing entirely.  The CDC thinks that the virus is primarily transmitted by droplets of saliva or mucus landing in the mouth, nose, or eyes. It has not been proven that you can get it from surfaces.



finally an article that agrees with me https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/28/masks-all-coronavirus/

Here is the author's twitter account.  He is a kindred spirit.  I appreciate him

Here's a Korean expert recommending masks


Here's a website claiming that vacuum cleaner bags do not contain fiberglass


Here's an article about how masks and handwashing do not prevent "transmission" in flu

I feel that the above article is misworded.  These measures do not protect against infection.  However they do protect against transmission.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Arguing with a doctor about use of surgical masks for defensive protection

The received wisdom from the medical community is that we shouldn't wear surgical masks to prevent us from getting infected with COVID-19.  I don't agree.  I think this is very bad advice.  Of course, there is a shortage of masks, so that's concerning, but doesn't go to the basic science of what defensive protection the mask would provide.

I got into an argument on FB with a medical doctor who is also a personal friend.  She spouted the general received wisdom & I counter argued -- not my usual mode.  I usually try to respect the doctors as knowing more than I do, but in this case I don't think so.  So here was the argument

Position of Dr

I think some people need to take a course in logic and logical fallacies. We need science, not intuition. N-95 masks (very tiny pores which can filter out viruses) protect the wearer, surgical masks (which viruses can pass through) decrease the transmission from an infected individual.

My response:

What I'm reading online is that hand washing is only about 20% effective in preventing transmission of colds and flu. I don't think it's going to be much better than that at preventing COVID-19 transmission. Also, what I'm reading online is that ordinary surgical masks have a range of protectiveness -- certainly not 95% like the N-95 masks, but still somewhat. I saw one estimate of 30-60%, which would be higher than hand washing. We're also seeing less spread of the virus in countries like Taiwan and Japan, where everyone is wearing masks. I'm not buying this business of the surgical masks having no protective effect. I think that's a distortion.

I saw an article online that one layer of a torn up tee shirt will block you from inhaling 50% of airborne virus. That's better than nothing.

If you walk through a grocery store, even if you keep 6 feet away, you're only two seconds away from breathing in what the next person has exhaled. The studies I'm seeing online are that COVID-19 remains airborne for between 1/2 hour and 3 hours. Certainly, it's still going to be there for 2 seconds. The surgical mask is better than nothing.

Also, the mask keeps you from touching your nose and mouth.

I TA-ed pre-med physics. I wasn't all that impressed that everyone understood basic Newtonian mechanics.

The reader may wish to read this article from Columbia University


It seems to me that, even if the mask only gives you 50% protection, that's better than nothing, when you're talking about a potentially fatal virus.

Friday, March 13, 2020

questions about coronavirus

I'm compiling a list of questions about coronavirus

1. What precautions are being taken to keep it from being on raw fruits and vegetables.
2. How much microwaving of these fruits and veggies would kill it?
3. What kind of laundering protocols would remove it from clothing? Does Clorox2 have enough hydrogen peroxide to kill the virus in a load of laundry? What are the risks of laundering more than one person’s laundry in the washer at the same time?
4. Why aren't we requiring everyone to wear masks to prevent transmission -- rather than discouraging masks?
5. What's turning up in that research about AIDS & malaria drugs against this virus?
6. How is Lawrence Garbuz doing?
7. When Tom Hanks says "one day at a time" does that mean he's really feeling rotten?
8. How long would a garment have to hang in a closet, for the virus to die on the garment?
9. Why aren’t stores limiting how much toilet paper a person can take out at a time?
10. Am I taking a big risk by using the same vacuum cleaner in several rooms?
11. Is there any hope at all of a vaccine by fall?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Ad for @stc

Hey, I'm in an ad that has several million views!!!! Yay!

 Here are some stills from the ad

This was a really fun shoot.  Kudos to Sonia Studios for such a great job!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Tulsi wrt Syria and India

Someone on Facebook asked me to provide a link proving that Tulsi is not a Hindu nationalist. This is what I said.

I just find it preposterous. She goes and has a conversation with Modi and all of a sudden she’s a Hindu nationalist. This idea that we can’t speak with people without being accused of supporting them is ludicrous. The idea that the press can force her to insult the leaders of foreign countries, putting the words of inflammatory yellow journalism in her mouth is repulsive. It’s not a good idea for a presidential candidate to be repeating inflammatory words of yellow journalism. Refusal to do so is to her credit.

Yet, the press, in their arrogance, sees fit to tar and feather her,because they can’t control the words that come out of her mouth. If she won’t repeat the words “brutal dictator” with respect to the Syrian leader, all of a sudden she is supporting him. If she won’t repeat something insulting about Modi’s “Hindu Nationalism,” then all of a sudden she’s a Hindu nationalist.

This is a person with no Indian ancestry. She’s not involved with these long-standing Hindu/Muslim rivalries in India at all. She’s an American through and through. She has her Hinduism from her very white German American mother, who must’ve been something of a flower child when she was younger.

Tulsi is the quintessential American, a child of the melting pot who did two tours of service in Iraq. The smears upon her character are the military industrial complex fearing her antiwar stance.

I do feel that she hasn’t been articulate enough in explaining that she is trying to spread the spirit of aloha ... in explaining that she doesn’t want to insult foreign leaders. A presidential candidate who has insulted foreign leaders is going to be compromised in their ability to negotiate in the future.