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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Nov;56(5):805-7. Epub 2005 Sep 13.

Virucidal hand treatments for prevention of rhinovirus infection.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, PO Box 800386, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Rhinovirus infections are associated with substantial morbidity and economic cost. The available common cold remedies are of limited utility and specific antiviral approaches have been unsuccessful. Viral contamination of the hands appears to play an important role in the transmission of rhinovirus from person-to-person. Interruption of this step in transmission presents a potential target for intervention. Initial studies demonstrated that the common cold could be prevented by treatment of hands with iodine. Inactivation of the rhinoviruses by acid is well known and a survey of organic acids considered safe for consumer use revealed that salicylic acid and pyroglutamic acid have potent virucidal activity for the rhinoviruses that persists for several hours after application to the hands. A subsequent evaluation in human volunteers confirmed the prevention of rhinovirus infections by these acids and suggested that these agents have promise as cosmetically acceptable virucidal agents for interruption of the transmission of these infections.

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