Scientists have found that acidic ozone water can deactivate H1N1 viruses very effectively, offering a promising disinfectant for the millions of people trying to avoid the disease. Acidic ozone water (AOW) is made from regular tap water mixed with a small amount of acid such as hydrochloric acid, along with an ozonized gas that can be produced in the lab. After deactivating the virus, the substance eventually decays into plain water, leaving no residue or harmful materials in the environment.
Scientists Han Uhm of Ajou University in Korea, along with Kwang Lee and Baik Seong of Yonsei University in Korea, have published the results of their study on the H1N1 disinfectant in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters. Besides being environmentally benign, AOW also has the advantage that it may cost significantly less to prepare compared with chemical disinfectants.
During the past several months, H1N1 has infected thousands of people worldwide and has proven to be a highly contagious disease. Attempts to combat the disease have included preventative vaccines and the use of disinfectants to prevent the spread of the disease. However, most of these disinfectants have chemicals that can harm the environment.
In the current study, the researchers found that they could make neutral water acidic by mixing a very small amount of hydrochloric acid into the water. Adding just 22 grams of hydrochloric acid to one ton of neutral water can change the pH value of the water from 7 to 4. As the scientists explain, the negative chlorine ions have a sterilizing effect on viruses, and a strong acidity in general also has a sterilizing effect.