January 5, 2010, Updated September 13, 2012

Swine flu virus is wiped out within 15 seconds of exposure to a new Israeli hand sanitizer that could help stop the spread of viral infectious diseases.



The new antiviral hand sanitizer developed by an Israeli professor has been proven to completely inactivate the swine flu virus.

While people all over the world worry about contracting swine flu, an Israeli company has come up with a product to prevent its spread. Yissum Research Development Company, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University (HU) of Jerusalem, presents EtoClean, a new antiviral hand sanitizer that stops the swine flu virus in its tracks.

Results of tests conducted on the clinically isolated H1N1 virus from patients – the actual pandemic strain of the virus – demonstrate that the innovative composition completely deactivates the virus within 15 seconds of exposure. The tests were carried out according to the American Society for Testing and Materials protocol in an FDA certified laboratory in the US.

The novel product was invented by Professor Elka Touitou from the School of Pharmacy of the faculty of medicine at HU and is being developed by Novel Therapeutic Technologies (NTT), a spin-off company of Yissum.

Washing your hands of swine flu

“EtoClean appears to completely deactivate the swine flu virus almost immediately, while most hand sanitizers available on the market today were not tested specifically for swine flu,” says Yaacov Michlin, president & CEO of Yissum.

“Yissum and NTT are currently seeking a strategic partner for the further development of this product, which has clear potential to provide a solution for the spreading of viral infectious diseases,” he continued.

The new sanitizer has microbicidal and antiviral properties and is effective when used on skin, food and a variety of surfaces. NTT is developing a full range of EtoClean-based sanitizing products in various pharmaceutical forms.

EtoClean contains GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) ingredients, which are also environmentally friendly. It does not dry out the skin, even after frequent use. The product also ‘deactivates’ many non-enveloped viruses, such as the hepatitis and noroviruses, which are not susceptible to regular alcohol-based sanitizers.

Touitou is an international authority in the drug delivery field. Her work focuses on the design of novel carriers for enhanced drug absorption and efficiency. Two start-ups, NTT and Eden Oils, are developing a number of pharmaceutical products based on her innovative platform technologies.

A pain-treatment technology that she developed was recently licensed to Z-Cube, the corporate venture arm of the Italian pharmaceutical firm Zambon.

Sanitizer sales rise along with flu fears

Sales of hand sanitizers have risen among the general population at pharmacies, supermarkets and drugstores as fear of swine flu grows, with the products growing into a $200-million-a-year industry in the US. For the 12 weeks that ended on August 9, 2009, sales in the category were up 19 percent from the previous year.

In the industrial and professional markets demand has been on the rise from healthcare facilities, physicians’ offices, corporate offices, restaurants, schools, hotels, airlines, laboratories and food processing plants, with the military also comprising a key market.

Over the past several years, waterless alcohol-based rinses have generated the fastest growth opportunities among hand sanitizers, benefiting from a 2002 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation advocating their use.

US demand for alcohol-based sanitizers in the health care market for 2008 was $470 million and is projected to expand 4.1% annually to $575 million in 2013 according to Freedonia’s Infections prevention product and services study report.

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Jason Harris

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