The Critical Role of Personal Care Formulations in Infection Control: Sustaining Preventive Hygiene Practices for COVID-19 and Future Outbreaks

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Sayandip Mukherjee Harshinie W. Jayasekera Carol K. Vincent Michael Hoptroff Ashish Shrikant Yekhe Timothy Tobery


The emergence and spread of a novel coronavirus designated as SARS-CoV-2 in late 2019 undeniably precipitated the greatest public health disaster of this new millennium. In absence of an available vaccine or virus-specific anti-viral drug, global health authorities issued several public advisories at the beginning of the pandemic and recommended mitigation measures based on the accumulating evidence and growing knowledge of the spread of this respiratory virus largely through airborne droplets and fomites. The recommended measures emphasized practicing respiratory, hand, and surface hygiene to break the chain of infection and reduce transmission of the virus. As a result of these recommendations, consumer products such as soap bars, liquid cleansers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, oral rinses, and surface cleaners, in addition to masks (surgical, N95, etc) became the most sought-after commodities in markets across the globe. Beyond the public health recommendations, it was incumbent upon the manufacturers of such consumer products to substantiate their product efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and later variants as they emerged, to ensure that the public confidence in the effectiveness of these products was not misplaced.  In this article we will review the standard test methodologies and their scientific robustness to determine virucidal efficacy, as well as their relevance to consumer usage; discuss the contributory ingredients in each class of personal care formulations and their mechanisms of virucidal action; and establish the importance of the fully formulated products to ensure they are efficacious under consumer habit-oriented usage. Additionally, we will highlight the impact of hand, body, and oral hygiene practices and compliance in infection control for COVID-19 and their relevance for future outbreaks. Last but not the least, we will provide an overview of the existing regulatory challenges for claiming virucidal benefits from personal care formulations and propose ways in which opportunities to disclose proven benefits of these formulations would be beneficial to the public at large in sustaining efforts towards personal hygiene practices for infection prevention.

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MUKHERJEE, Sayandip et al. The Critical Role of Personal Care Formulations in Infection Control: Sustaining Preventive Hygiene Practices for COVID-19 and Future Outbreaks. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 10, oct. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi:
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