Times of India - 14 Oct 2014

Citric acid-based disinfectant to kill chikungunya

CHENNAI: A team of scientists in the city, along with experts in Andhra Pradesh and Japan, has found that a citric acidbased disinfectant can destroy the chikungunya virus. The chemically synthesised citric acid developed in Japan has earlier proved effective in killing the human influenza virus.

The team from the department of virology at Sri Venkateswara University , Tirupati; Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Chennai and scientists in Japan have tested the disinfectant in the form of granules on chikungunya virus.The team first collected more than 1,000 samples of chikungunya virus and developed and maintained them in both human and mosquito cell line. The disinfectant was then tested on these viruses when it showed it can destroy the virus.

Scientists said the application could be on skin or through fumigation, and it brings down the probability of infection even if bitten by a carrier mosquito. D V R Saigopal, professor of virology , SV University, said that the disinfectant, which is an ingredient in several food additives, was developed in Japan 10 years ago. "The disinfectants we get in India are detergent, phenol, foam or alcohol-based and have high toxicity and sideeffect. This disinfectant is solvent based and our tests showed it has low level of toxicity . It is not only safer but also cheaper," the professor explained.

Scientists said that the disinfectant is at present approved as a mouth gargle and rinse in Japan and also used by the Japanese railways department as spray in their train coaches during flu seasons. It is also sold with a brand name `Clinister' by a Japanese multinational company .

Encouraged by the positive result, the scientists have decided to approach the Union government with their research work looking for avenues to try it on other viruses. "It can kill the virus in the environment and in the mosquito as well as on the surface of the human skin where there is mosquito bite. It can be used in detergents, fumigant, mosquito repellent and hand wash," the professor said.

Scientists have also decided to use the same methodology to test it on other viruses like foot and mouth disease virus and dengue virus.