MADURAI: Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh on Sunday said that an inquiry is underway into a suggestion made by the designated Food Safety Officer in Madurai that workers at industrial units can use potassium permanganate as an ‘affordable alternative to hand sanitiser.’ “The State will not recommend it at this juncture. Only protocols issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Public Health Department will be followed,” she said.
Food Safety Officer Dr M Somasundaram recently said, “People everywhere could be seen standing with sanitiser. It is not that effective for people with very unclean hands. When it comes to manufacturing units, sanitiser will not be sufficient for disinfecting workers before they enter workplace. Dipping hands and feet in potassium-permanganate solution before entering manufacturing units would make them completely aseptic. Careless washing of hands using a soap will not make the hands sterile, but this would. I would suggest this procedure, and it could be put to general use (against all infection).”
In his instructions (issued as audio notes) to a pharmacists’ association here, Somasundaram said, “The manufacturers (of hand sanitiser) have increased the price (of sanitiser) by six times, and even large companies find it difficult to purchase them. So, please keep a stock of it (potassium permanganate) in large quantities.”
However, a senior microbiologist from the Madurai Medical College said that there was no proven scientific evidence of potassium permanganate solution being an antiviral against SARS-CoV-2. A senior dermatologist from the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) said that diluted potassium permanganate solution was usually used to treat patients with oozing lesions.
Speaking on the matter, Deputy Director of Health Services Dr P Priya Raj said that there was no proposal or any discussion held to officially recommend use of potassium permanganate solution against COVID-19 virus. “SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus and the effectiveness of the solution can be established only after ample research,” she added.
Collector TG Vinay told TNIE that neither the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare nor the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended use of potassium permanganate solution for fighting COVID-19. Hypochlorite solution, Lysol, and hand sanitiser are the only recommended disinfectants against coronavirus, he added.