Coronavirus: what makes the soap the virus that causes the covid-19

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Drawing of hand with soap that says:

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Lavare le mani; мыть руки; Hände wash; 请洗手… no matter in what language, the most important message of the moment is clear: wash your hands.

And is that, for the more advanced is science in the TWENTY-first century, in the pandemic of coronavirus the weapon key is that centuries-old technology of combining water and soap.

Although we do not know with certainty who, when or how someone had such a brilliant idea, yes we know is that this mix is still the best strategy to combat infectious diseases and even the so-far invincible SARS-CoV-2 can against it.

But, why it works so well?

Because what for us can be so nice to be relaxing -the sound of the water, the pleasure of feeling it run over our skin, the aroma of the soap and this pause now, by the advice of the authorities, is going to accompanied by some song-, for the micro-organisms is highly destructive.

A single drop of soap in water can kill countless bacteria and viruses.

The secret of the soap

The soap is a mixture of some grease, water and alkali or basic salt.

Alkali comes from the Arabic: Al-Qaly القلي ,القالي, ‘ceniza’, which is what was used by the sumerians already in the year 3000.C., the oldest known reference.

The recipe that we use today is very similar to the one found in cuneiform tablets, and with good reason, then that slippery solution meets its mission: clean.

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Image caption

A powerful weapon in our hands.

The secret lies in the predilections of each end of the molecules of soap, which have a head and a tail.

The head is hydrophilic and tail, hydrophobic and lipófila or, in other words, on one hand it attracts the water and on the other, the oil or fat.

When you’re washing your hands and the molecules of soap are fat, their tails are attracted to her while their heads remain in the water.

The forces of attraction between the heads and the water are so strong that they raise the fat from the surface, so that this is completely surrounded by molecules of detergent, which are separated into pieces each smaller and smaller, which are then washed out with water.

But, why is it so effective with viruses as the cause of the disease convid-19?

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Unpacking

The coronavirus, like all viruses, is basically a set of instructions-fragments of genetic code – in search of cells which invade to force them to follow their mandates.

But it turns out that these instructions -the ribonucleic acid (RNA)- are pre-packaged in what is known as the viral envelope, and the SARS-CoV-2 is made lipid and those lipids are fats.

Compared to soap, that is their Achilles heel.

When you pick up without wanting to coronavirus with your hands, these can’t penetrate the skin because its outer layer is slightly acidic, but can remain there waiting for the opportunity to enter the body most vulnerable places.

And it is in this moment that can intercept and destroy it, just wash your hands.

The soap not only loosens the virus of the skin, but does the viral envelope dissolvesso that the proteins and the RNA was deslían and the virus metaphorically dies -it’s really off, because the viruses are not exactly alive-.

Only the water carried the remains of what until the last 20 seconds was a serious threat to our health and the health of others.

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Why 20 seconds?

Because the soap needs some time for its magic to take effect and, by the way, we also need a few seconds to make sure that we are lathering up all over.

Disinfectants are also served, but the wonder of the soapy water is that you only need a little to cover all of your hands, and with only restregarte you get rid of unwanted.

To achieve the same thing with other products, which generally contain alcohol, you have to soak with those substances all the nooks and crannies in which they may be hidden viruses.

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