While some alcohol-based products are effective against the contagion, just 15 seconds of cleaning hands with a Betadine solution can cause virucidal effects. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A new research conducted on Povidone Iodine, a broad-spectrum antiseptic shows it to be 99.9 per cent effective against the Ebola virus and this may be used widely by the more than five million Haj travellers planning their pilgrimage this year as a preventive step to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

Presenting the results of the research on the sidelines of the Dubai International Pharmaceuticals and Technologies Conference (Duphat), Professor Dr Maren Eggers, virologist from the Marburg University, Germany, who conducted an invitro research on the Ebola virus said that the use of Povidone Iodine on the hands for just 15 seconds showed a quick virucidal efficacy against Ebola virus which would be very effective in prevention of the transmission of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

“To date, there have been 22,500 cases of Ebola and 9,000 confirmed deaths. Those who survived the infection, suffer from post-Ebola symptoms such as vision loss, joint pain and memory loss. Hygiene management is crucial in controlling the transmission of EVD and Betadine [brand name for Povidone Iodine preparations] manufactured by Mundipharma has proved to be the most effective,” she said.

The professor who conducted an in-vitro research using the antiseptic also used some alcohol-based antiseptics during the research. “While some alcohol-based antiseptics like ethanol were found to be effective, Povidone Iodine eliminated 99.9 per cent of the virus in just 15 seconds. This is the maximum time anyone is going to rub hands while washing and that is why this antiseptic could immediately bring down incidence of spread,” Dr Eggers told Gulf News.

Dr Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice-President of Mundipharma for Middle East and Africa Region, said: “According to the World Health Organisation [WHO], hand hygiene is the most important step in infection prevention and disease control as far as the Ebola Virus is concerned and Betadine has shown to have a substantial potential to fight the outbreak by minimising the risk of human-to-human transmission. The broad spectrum antiseptic is available as hand wash, mouth wash and a whole range of products that can stop the spread of the infection through any body fluids. We are working closely with the WHO to educate the people and have distributed more than two million doses of the antiseptic to reach patients, hospital staff and members of the public.”

Dr Allam also added that his organisation was working closely with the health authorities in the UAE to educate Haj travellers about the prophylactic use of the antiseptic in containing not just the spread of Ebola but also that of Corona Virus during the pilgrimage. “People will be advised to use the antiseptic before, during and after their Haj pilgrimage,” he said.