Why can’t you blast computer viruses with hydrogen peroxide?

Angry woman with computer
The only good virus is a dead virus (unless they’re bacteriophages – the amazing natural viruses that actually EAT killer bacteria)

Yes, a virus on your computer is the pits.

Especially the kind that don’t roll over dead – that keep re-infecting, over and over again.

Which is why, with apologies, there was no blog yesterday.

And why today’s is hung over with this bit of a rant.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

Because a really pernicious virus is like Ebola.

All the vital functions of your computer start shutting down, the entire system is under attack.

And it’s not just what it does to your day – that’s your whole life going down the tubes.

You don’t come back from Ebola unless you’re very lucky. And you don’t come back from a major computer infestation unless you’re very lucky too.

But here’s the bad part.

You can’t even have a go at your computer with hydrogen peroxide.

Super germ-killer that it is, even the industrial strength 30% solution has no effect on infected hard drives or CPUs.

Infuriating that.

Reliable germ-killer

Because hydrogen peroxide can take out any biological virus or bacteria easy-peasy.

Basically like water with an extra oxygen atom, it rips harmful pathogens apart by oxidising them. The extra oxygen atoms release to tear apart their cell structures beyond any chance of survival.

They are gone.

Especially when you use a Hypersteriliser – the thing that mists up the room for an hour or so and annihilates all the germs. Yes, you’re right, it takes sterilising rooms to a whole new level.

So why haven’t they made one for computers?

Clever thing, that Hypersteriliser.

Instead of just spraying willy-nilly – an iffy and very watery fogging method that needs strong concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to work – it mists up the place with an ultra-fine spray that is finer than water vapour.

Ionised into plasma

Finer than just about anything, because it’s ionised.

More eco-friendly too because it allows lighter concentrations – just 6%, the same as you buy in the chemist for disinfecting cuts and scrapes.

But with a massive difference.

Ionising the hydrogen peroxide changes its state to more like a gas, actually behaving like a plasma. Every molecule acquires an electrical charge, buzzing with energy.

As the micro-mist leaves the nozzle, these molecules jump to escape from each other – two objects with the same charge repel each other, remember your O Level science?

That means they disperse quickly, as far away from each other as they possibly can. But contained by the walls and ceiling of the room, so they pile in wherever they can get. On every surface, horizontal or vertical. Underneath them, behind them, and into every crack and crevice.

All the places that normal wipe cleaning – and disinfection – can’t reach.

It’s a dry mist too. Safe with electrical connections – especially sensitive health-care machines. Tiny voltages are unaffected, there’s no moisture around keyboards or input sockets.

The killer charge

That same charge though, attracts the stuff to every opposite-charged object – tables, work surfaces, instruments, machines, floors, walls, ceilings.

Everything floating in the air too. Like microscopically invisible pathogens – viruses and bacteria swarming around to infect things.

The charged hydrogen peroxide is attracted like a magnet – actively reaching out and grabbing hold.

The oxygen atoms release, and rip the pathogen cells to pieces – end of story.

Well, almost.

Because the stuff is just water with an extra oxygen atom, right? So that’s all that’s left – oxygen and water. But in such small quantities, it evaporates almost immediately.

And the silver bullet

Oh, and yes, did we mention the silver?

To give this ionised hydrogen peroxide triple-whammy hyper performance, colloidal silver boosts its killing power by over three times. Any virus hit by that is dead in an instant – including Ebola.

So why can’t we have this stuff for computers? (Tweet this)

Come on, you geeks. How hard can it be?

Originally posted on 2 September 2018 @ 10:38 pm

AMR snatches gold from antibiotics – but good old silver always takes silver

Silver cup winner
Second best protection is better than no protection at all

Silver, huh?

Second-best at best. Not even close to antibiotics.

Yeah, but antibiotics are busy going phut.

Too much use, too many expectations, too many chances at getting away with things.

Superbugs are winning

Ask your Doc – AMR – antimicrobial resistance – is the big headache right now. You get injured or seriously ill, what the hell do medics do now?

Because the cupboard is bare – not from running out – from over-use, serious over-use – crikey Moses, agriculture alone round the world uses 65,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.

Mind you, the medical sector is not much better – around a quarter of all antibiotic prescriptions are placebo-type overkill or just plain unnecessary.

No, no, the big problem is that these one-time miracle drugs are beginning not to work any more. The superbugs they’re meant to kill refuse to roll over, dead.

Too smart, see? Immune. Mutated and adapted every generation – which can happen every few minutes – able to resist whatever we throw at them.

Ho, hum, did you feel a breeze just then?

End of the line?

Yeah, an empty cupboard. And no new antibiotics discovered since 1987. No profit in it with a one-off course of three tablets a day for a week. How about one a day, every day for life? THAT’S more like it!

OK, but we’re not dead yet. Antibiotics are still saving lives, still enabling medical experts to do amazing things – brain surgery, organ transplants, joint replacements – right down to C-sections births which are now 1 in 4.

The writing is on the wall though. And the day is fast arriving when our mind-blowing silver bullets run out of fizz. In fact the all-resistant bug – protected by the gene mcr-1 – is already here.

Time to call for back-up. Second best maybe, but better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

Ancient reinforcements

Say hello to silver, an old friend from way back. 400 BC to be exact – and even then it was old hat – when Hippocrates (he of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath) taught how to use it for healing wounds and controlling disease.

You’re right, silver is not in the same class as modern antibiotics. But it does have antibiotic qualities of its own.

Prolonged exposure to silver seems to clobber most pathogens eventually – slow perhaps, but effective. Which is why the rich would drink from silver cups and eat with silver cutlery. And why wounded soldiers 100 years ago had their sutures sewn with silver thread to reduce infection.

Their dressings were silver too – local application seemed to work better than internal dosing. And still today, you can get waterproof Elastoplast with antiseptic silver in the would pad.

There is even the possibility that silver could boost the performance of our sagging antibiotics – helping to overcome AMR and get some of their mojo back. Tests already show improvements up to 1,000 times better germ-killing power.

Better still, silver is not just antibacterial, it’s antifungal and antiviral as well.  And winners though they still are, antibiotics have never been able to take down viruses.

Thank you, No 2

Second best, yes. But definitely better than nothing.

Put that together with a new awareness of hygiene – necessity will force us to keep ourselves cleaner as the superbugs take over – and our medical future is not so desperate after all.

Given time, it could even get better. Researchers have found that silver interrupts a bacteria cell’s ability to form chemical bonds it needs for survival.

Not unlike what hydrogen peroxide does when misted up in a roomful of pathogens by a Hypersteriliser.

Hmm, no viruses, no bacteria – what’s not to like?

Picture Copyright: feedough / 123RF Stock Photo

Positive edge to beating viruses and bacteria

Woman with jump leads
Positive, negative – the physics of attraction

It’s nothing short of electrifying.

You’d never know because they’re so small, but viruses and bacteria all carry an electrical charge.

Like tiny nano-batteries, they’re positive on the outside and negative on the inside – their own internal power source and life force.

Micro electricity

Even more amazing, their power can make them blink, giving off flashes like Christmas tree lights. If one of their cells contains a voltage-sensitive protein, they glow on and off.

Our all-time favourite, escherichia coli for instance, easily generates a voltage difference – possibly the resource it uses to resist antibiotics.

GOTCHA!

Because positively-charged pathogens like e.coli, norovirus, or even Ebola are sitting targets for anything negatively-charged. Remember magnets at school? Opposite charges attract – so strongly that they reach out and grab.

OK, so grab!

And the grabber we’re talking about is also a super-powerful oxidiser.

Which means instant trouble for “bad guy” viruses and bacteria because they’re anaerobic – they don’t live on oxygen, but glycogen. All the time they’re living inside us – infecting us and killing us – they breathe blood sugar.

Pathogens destroyed

So if an oxidiser with live oxygen atoms suddenly clamps onto them, they’re instant history. The oxygen atoms rip them apart and they die.

Which is what hydrogen peroxide does. IONISED hydrogen peroxide.

Misted up into a super-fine vapour then charged with high-voltage, it changes state from a gas into a plasma – a kind of super-gas that releases a whole load more of extra antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

This germ-killing cocktail is exactly how it disperses from a Hypersteriliser – a nifty doohickey about the size of a small wheelie-bin, that sterilises enclosed spaces totally free from germs – no viruses, no bacteria, nothing.

Negatively-charged, the mist molecules seek and aggressively latch onto the positively-charged outers of viruses and bacteria, the oxygen does its stuff – end of story.

Except it gets better.

Spreads everywhere

Ionising the hydrogen peroxide means all its molecules are released with the same charge.

Remember magnets again? Like charges repel – so all those molecules are violently trying to escape from each other – forcibly driven apart and away.

Not drifting like an ordinary gas – remember this is a plasma – but actively scattered in all directions, pressed up hard against things, reaching under and behind, stretching deep into cracks and crevices. All the places that germs can lurk where ordinary wipe-down cleaning cannot reach.

And of course, through the air too – 80% of the space in any room – exactly where most germs are. At less than a 10,000th of a millimetre across, they’re so light that they ride every waft of air – just waving your hand around probably stirs up billions.

Yes, you’ve got it. Wherever those viruses and bacteria are – on the ceiling, clinging to the computer cables in the corner, on the underside of the desk – they are suddenly no more. Forty minutes average exposure, and they’re gone.

Ah! But what about the microbes that DO live on oxygen, the aerobic ones?

OK, there are exceptions, but most of these are the good guys – the billions and billions and billions that play a beneficial role in the functioning of Earth’s ecosystem. Bacteria in yoghurt, right? Or sauerkraut with your hot dog.

Among the odd ones out though, is mycobacterium tuberculosis – as it’s name implies, the cause of TB. But there’s a grabber for that too – and all other aerobes. One that also kills by oxidising.

Silver lining

Contained in the same mist that the Hypersteriliser deploys is silver – specifically colloidal silver – silver particles suspended in a liquid. And silver is a known antimicrobial from centuries back – one of the reasons we eat with silver cutlery or carry silver crucifixes to ward off evil spirits.

Bye, bye everything – the whole place is sterile. Safe until the first one of us walks in, trailing our own bio-aura of bacteria around us.

But even then we’re protected. A microscopically thin layer of colloidal silver coats all surfaces in the room – a lasting shield against infection for up to weeks afterwards.

We said positive edge, didn’t we?

Feel safer now?

Why normal sterilising is just not good enough

Woman doctor in mask
Safe isn’t safe until it’s 100% sterile

However you look at it, the job is a schlep.

Seems any sterilising effort needs stinky chemicals that give you a headache and strips away paint if you’re not careful.

Bleach, formaldehyde, peracetic acid – don’t think for a second that any of that stuff is good for you.

Not nice, however you do it

Either that or it’s heat so hot, you can’t stand it.

Or messing around with ultra violet light and exposing yourself to whatever.

Or worst of the lot, you’re playing around with some noxious gas that does your head in with the slightest whiff.

On top of which, you’ve usually got to scrub like crazy before you get anywhere. Then wash the whole lot off afterwards.

Strictly for the birds.

Like ordinary washing, but nastier.

Still basically manual wipe.

Which means how hard you scrub, and for how long, also comes into it.

Plus, how can you be sure you haven’t missed a bit?

And how about all the surfaces you can’t normally reach? Like underneath things? Or behind? Or on top? And all those wires and tubes for the equipment you use? Computer cables, screens, keyboards, phones?

Get liquid in any of them and BGRZAPF! Things stop working.

And what about the air? All that room space around you?

Less than perfect, the job’s not done

So whatever you try, 80% of the germs around you don’t even get touched.

And those bugs are sneaky – just about nothing stops them.

Like the Streptococcus mitis bacterium we came across in yesterday’s blog. Coming back to life after two and a half years on the moon – surviving launch, space vacuum, radiation exposure, deep-freeze at 20 degrees above absolute zero, with no nutrient, water or energy source.

Miss one of those things with your squidging sponge and you’re right back where you started.

OK, so technology can help a bit.

Like, bung everything in an autoclave – if you can find one that’s big enough. Fine for instruments, but a bit difficult with a whole room full of stuff.

Ultra violet

Then there’s an American company which has this robot thingy that zaps out ultra violet light. Kills all germs dead in minutes, job done.

Well yes, but we have a similar machine and it only works for line of sight. Any obstruction that the light rays can’t get to the back of remains untreated. And the dose gets weaker, the further you are from the machine.

A good idea, but you’ve got to work at it. Move it around a lot so the light rays get everywhere. Like we said, those bugs are sneaky.

All right, how about gas? It gets into the air, spreads around behind things, surely that’s the answer.

Ozone

Things don’t get much more potent than ozone, a kind of super-oxygen that kills all viruses and bacteria stone-cold dead – the same stuff that high up in the atmosphere protects the Earth from the sun’s deadly radiation.

Uh, huh. But to be effective, its concentration level can be very hazardous. Mild doses are fine for taking out smells and getting rid of mould. But even then, the place has to be evacuated and you’ve got to vent it out thoroughly before it’s safe to use the room.

Vaporised wetness

Sticking with airborne ideas, fogging up the place is another method that is often tried – usually with hydrogen peroxide, a powerful oxidiser, just like ozone – but a lot more people-friendly.

Water-based, the problem is getting the stuff to disperse efficiently. The vapour is heavier than air and takes time to reach everywhere. It’s also wet and needs to be dried off after treatment. Drip, drip into electrical connections, also a hassle. And again, the concentration level necessary makes it hazardous to work with.

How, how, how, to get rid of all the difficulties?

Ionised efficiency

Check out the Hypersteriliser machine. Round the world, hospitals, clinics and care centres are beginning to hike sterilising hygiene to a whole new level with it.

Yes, it uses hydrogen peroxide – but ionised, so it’s finer than air and spreads better – electrically charged so it actively reaches out and grabs viruses and bacteria on the fly.

It’s also boosted with colloidal silver. And remember? Way back before antibiotics, it was silver compounds that were the first choice in dealing with infections.

In fact silver sulfadiazine cream was the standard antibacterial treatment for serious burns until well into the 1990s.

Better still, silver’s antibacterial properties get dramatically enhanced by an electrical field – exactly what happens to it in the nozzle of the Hypersteriliser.

So it’s not just hydrogen peroxide misting out – it’s a Twenty-First Century germ-killer that takes sterilising a whole quantum leap into vastly more effective protection. (Tweet this)

There’s no schlep either. Just press a button and it works itself.

A bit better than a sponge and bleach – but stick around. We’ll always need spot sterilising as a failsafe.

Now in your high street: the sterilised supermarket

Island in red germs
A sterilised oasis in a sea of germs

You know that sign you get in the loo at hotels and airports? The one that tells you when the place was last inspected?

Well, I was outside my local supermarket, waiting for the rain to stop, when I saw something similar next to the front door.

Except it wasn’t the same.

Instead of “last cleaned”,  it said “last sterilised”.

“Sterilised”. As in “all germs removed”. Like a hospital operating room.

And the sign meant the whole supermarket – plus the warehouse area and cold store – and the staff area upstairs. I know ‘cos I went in and asked the manager. A bit unusual wasn’t it, for a neighbourhood grocer’s?

The manager had this evil grin. They’re a family operation, holding their own in the war for the high street.

“It’s our secret weapon,” he said. “And we’ve got the big names cold. Next time you read about some fridge that hasn’t been cleaned, or mice in the meat section, you’re gonna remember this place and how we’re sterilised every night.”

Every night? I was surprised. Wasn’t it only necessary once a week or something?

The manager was amazing. Busy bloke, yet he took time to natter – “forward facing customer skills” I think they call it. Anyway he had ’em, in spades.

Yes, every night, because germs are all around all the time. You can fit a billion of them on the head of a pin, they’re too small to see. But we drag them around with us – on our skin, on our clothes, followed by a hovering cloud of hazard, wherever we go.

Which means that the store might be germ-free when they open the doors. But by the end of the day it needs doing again. Just like all the counters have to be washed, the floors swept and the shelves disinfected. The daily hygiene habit for business.

Then I asked him how it was done.

And that was amazing too. Because the whole thing was touch-free, nobody lifted a finger. They cleaned the place first, then rolled in this thing like an electronic wheelie bin, and hit a button.

Apparently what it does is mist up the place with hydrogen peroxide, clouds of it everywhere – all through the shop and the shelves and chillers – right into the cracks and crevices too.

Now I remember hydrogen peroxide. My gran used to put it on cuts and scrapes when we were little. Same story, to kill the germs. It used to fizz and foam like crazy. Kind of cool and it didn’t sting. Too iffy for today’s ‘elf and safety wonks.

This fog, it seems, is pretty high tech. It’s a super-fine mist, way thinner than steam or water vapour. And it’s ionised, so it attracts itself to airborne particles like floating microbes, clings fast to surfaces like worktops and shelves – underneath as much as on top – all the hidden areas that tend to get neglected.

It gets better. Cos the stuff is boosted with colloidal silver, another known germ-fighter from the old days. This boosts performance big time, because no known bacteria can survive against even minute traces of silver, especially in its colloidal state.

Forty-five minutes is all it takes. They have three of these machines misting up the place at the same time – the shop first, then the cold store, then the warehouse – in pace with staff clocking off to go home.

Impressive stuff. Which means the manager’s right. I’m not going to go spend my bucks in the superstore, even though they do cost less. I’m going to my local in the high street – a sterilised oasis in a sea of germs  – and I don’t have to use that self-service checkout which drives me crazy.

No point taking chances when I don’t have to.