- Potential toxicity
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Altered microbiome
- Rise in other infections
- Environmental effects
Dr Andrew Kemp, Head of Scientific Advisory Board on the British Institute of Cleaning Science, said alcohol based hand gels have still not been proven to kill Covid-19 on skin. But the Lincoln university academic said overuse of the gels will allow other bugs – commonly found on our hands – to learn how to survive them. If antibiotic resistant superbugs adapt to survive alcohol it could lead to an “armageddon situation”, he warned.
He stressed that hand hygiene was vital to deal with the spread of Covid, and hand washing was a powerful weapon. But he warned that even the most potent sanitisers do not destroy every single bug, potentially giving rise to more problems.
The surviving bacteria would be resistant to alcohol and potentially far more harmful.
Several pieces of a significantly important research have now come together to present a very different picture of the outcomes we can expect from the current doctrine on hand hygiene in our healthcare facilities. The new evidence, (one piece of which was produced by the BBC TV series “Twinsitutue”), shows beyond any doubt that alcohol gels have the capacity to not only increase the number of bacteria on skin, but to significantly change the species of bacteria that colonise the skin. Further, the species that is shown to replace the natural skin commensals, is a bacillus, this therefore carries an increase risk due to it’s potential for significantly more harm