Amidst Impending Viral Variants, Are Our Disinfectants and Hand Sanitizers Still Effective?

5 September 2021

At the time of this writing, COVID-19 has already wreaked devastating havoc on the social fabric and livelihoods of billions of people, sending the healthcare systems of even the most developed of countries to the brink of breakdown and claiming about 4.5 million lives worldwide. Although the development of various vaccines holds the promise of transforming the pandemic into an endemic outbreak, the arrival of mutated versions of the virus such as the COVID-19 Delta variant has posed huge challenges to vaccine efficacy. For instance, despite having one of the highest vaccination levels in the world (~78% of people 12 and older fully vaccinated), Israel currently logs one of the highest infection rates, with some ~1000 cases per million people occurring daily. The spike in infections is largely due to the Delta variant. This grim fact foretells a bleak future: it is not a question of if, but when a new variant will render our current vaccines ineffective.

It is therefore imperative, at the present time, that societies continue to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing in public or communal areas. It is also critical that good hand hygiene is habitual while publicly accessible surfaces are routinely cleaned and disinfected. Cleaning aside, this invariably forces us to scrutinize the efficacy of hand sanitizers and disinfectants. A question that naturally arises is whether the disinfectants and hand sanitizers that were effective against the first strain of COVID-19 are still capable of inactivating its new variants.

Before we address that question, we first need to understand two aspects of the COVID-19 virus. The first is how the mutated variants differ from the original strain and the second is how disinfectants or hand sanitizers in general kill this virus. COVID-19 is an envelope virus with proteins protruding from the surface of a lipid bilayer, which gives it a “crown-like” appearance that many people now recognize. The spike protein (colored red in the picture), which supposedly helps anchor the virus to cells within the human body, is slightly different between the various COVID-19 strains. The differences between the spike proteins of the COVID-19 variants are thought to be the primary reason for their observed differences in transmissibility, although some scientists believe that other proteins may also be responsible for the increased infectiousness in some variants.

The active ingredients in many disinfectants and hand sanitizers do not target the surface proteins but instead disrupt the lipid bilayer of the COVID-19 virus, killing it as a result. Mutations that alter the composition of the proteins are unlikely to prevent the disinfectants from catastrophically damaging the lipid bilayer. This may be why the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a statement in January 2021, saying that the entries listed on List N Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19) are expected to be effective in killing newer strains of the virus.

Although many disinfectants and hand sanitizers are capable of inactivating COVID-19 and its newer variants, the efficacy and contact time can vary widely. At Cosmic Discovery, we meticulously ensure that the active ingredients in our hand sanitizers and disinfectants are not only known to kill COVID-19 and its mutant strains, but they do so in a timely yet cost effective manner. Where required and warranted, our R&D team can readily re-formulate products to suit your specific needs. In the meantime, check out some of our sanitizer offerings in our previous write-up (https://www.cosmicdiscovery.com.my/news/sanitizers/). We also have a comprehensive range of products for surface cleaning and disinfecting to ensure that the environment around you is not just free of COVID-19, but other harmful pathogens as well. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us regarding our products and services (https://www.cosmicdiscovery.com.my/contact/).


The CDSB R&D team


Listed below are a few examples of disinfectants that we offer.

Cosmic Discovery’s SS SANITISER is a highly effective liquid disinfectant based on the well-established anti-microbial properties of quaternary ammonium compounds (often called quats). Fast acting and yet providing lasting protection, SS SANITISER efficiently kills bacteria, fungi and viruses, and can be applied onto a wide variety of surfaces without causing chemical damage, corrosion or discoloration. It is suitable for use in industrial, institutional, office and even household settings.

SS SANITISER is also available with pine oil, which we refer to as SS SANITISER P. Combining the effectiveness of quats with the antibacterial properties and pleasant scent of pine oil, SS SANITISER P is both a powerful disinfectant and deodorizer for surface and air sanitation.

The SS SANITISER series of products are available in 5 kg bottles, 6 x 5 kg bottles in a carton, and 25 kg jerry cans.

Technical details on SS SANITISER and SS SANITISER P are available upon request.


COS PINE is a liquid alkaline cleaner and a phenolic disinfectant. It also incorporates the many beneficial properties of pine oil into what is already a highly potent disinfectant that is fully capable of killing bacteria, fungi and viruses. COS PINE efficiently cleans, deodorizes and disinfects all at the same time. Importantly, COS PINE does not contain the phenolic compound triclosan, which has been determined by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in USA as lacking sufficient evidence that it is safe to use. COS PINE is safe on almost all surfaces and is suitable for use in both industrial and office settings. It is particularly useful in washrooms, refuse disposal and other areas that may have an offensive odor.

COS PINE is available in 5 kg bottles, 6 x 5 kg bottles in a carton, and 25 kg jerry cans.

Technical details on COS PINE are available upon request.


While we at Cosmic Discovery are proponents of environmental sustainability and going green, we recognize that chlorine-based disinfectants currently remain indispensable in some regions of the world. Indeed, where discoloration or corrosion are not issues in the area of application, these disinfectants can offer a highly compelling combination of virucidal performance and affordability. Cosmic Discovery’s COSSAN is a white powder that when combined with water, produces a highly effective chlorine-based disinfectant that can be used to sanitize surfaces and even one’s feet (as a foot bath)! At the right concentration, COSSAN not only eliminates viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae, but is also capable of deodorizing and removing unwanted odors. It is suitable for use in dairy and poultry farms, bakeries and food processing plants.

COSSAN is available in 5 kg and 25 kg pails.

Technical details on COSSAN are available upon request.


COS OZO L is a solution of stabilized hydrogen peroxide, which is known to exhibit excellent antimicrobial properties. Aside from its bactericidal, fungicidal and even sporicidal properties, hydrogen peroxide can also be a potent virucidal agent. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in USA, a mere 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is capable of inactivating rhinoviruses within 6 – 8 minutes. Given that the non-envelope rhinovirus, which is primarily responsible for the common cold, is harder to kill than coronaviruses, hydrogen peroxide is an excellent disinfectant against COVID-19. An environmentally sustainable disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide eventually breaks down into oxygen and water. It is safe on almost all surfaces and can serve as a deodorizer as well. It is suitable for use in industrial, institutional, office and even household settings.

COS OZO L is available in 28 kg jerry cans.

Technical details on COS OZO L are available upon request.