Airlines using herpes disinfectants to clean planes amid coronavirus: report

Feb 27 2020, 10:44 pm

Airlines are relying on some of the world’s harshest disinfectants to sterilize planes as a means of combatting the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to a recent report published by Bloomberg, these products are capable of eliminating a variety of germs and infections from sexually transmitted illnesses like herpes and the MRSA superbug.

The report states that Qantas Airways, Korean Air Lines, and Singapore Airlines’ Scoot are among the carriers that assisted in the evacuation of people from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as from a cruise ship off of Japan.


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As a result, they have increased their sanitization initiatives as a means of ensuring that those aircrafts used in these transports are safe to reinstate back to commercial usage.

“The standard vacuum-and-wipe cleanup on board has turned into hospital-grade sterilizations,” the report explains.

Qantas used a product called Viraclean, a hospital-grade disinfectant created by Whiteley Corp., a producer of medical cleaning products based in Australia. It is a pink liquid with a lemon scent that eliminates a variety of bacteria and viruses, including Hepatitis B and herpes.

“Surfaces heavily soiled with blood or sweat should be soaked with undiluted Viraclean,” Whitely advises. The company also recommends that individuals who are handling the product use eye protection and gloves.


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Korean Air went with¬†MD-125, a diluted variant of D-125, as their disinfectant of choice, according to Bloomberg’s report.

This cleaning solution is produced by Microgen Hygiene Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of American-based surface disinfectant company, Microgen INC-USA.

The product itself is utilized in a variety of industries, from poultry farming to healthcare.

According to the company, “D-125 is US EPA registered & also approved by FDA of many leading countries including India with claims of 148 micro-organisms including HIV, HBV, HCV, Polio, H1N1, H5N1 etc.”

According to Bloomberg, Qantas used the same Boeing 747 aircraft on two flights from Wuhan as well as a flight from Tokyo to Australia.


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Following the journeys, the plane was cleansed for 36 hours, and all items that came in contact with passengers, including pillows, blankets, headphones, and magazines were disposed of completely, the airline told Bloomberg.

The entire cabin was sprayed with the disinfectant two times, covering all surfaces that passengers touched from the seats to the overhead luggage compartments and everything in between, before being thoroughly cleaned.

The airline also replaced the plane’s air filters, which are similar to those utilized in surgical operating theatres.

Korean Air used the same Boeing 747 for two Wuhan flights as well as an Airbus SE A330 for a third, the report explains.


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In addition to spraying the cabins with disinfectant and wiping everything down, cleaning crews also replaced the seat covers and curtain dividers and sterilized the cargo hold.

Only when the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared them were the aircrafts able to be implemented back into service.

Budget airline Scoot, owned and operated by Singapore Airlines, sprayed an “industrial-grade disinfectant” in its cabin in a process known as “fogging,” the report explains.

Many airlines implemented a variety of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus back in January, including Cathay Pacific, who ceased providing amenities such as pillows, blankets, and hot towels.

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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