BRITS may have wasted tens of millions of pounds on cleaning products that offer no protection against coronavirus, a disease expert has warned.
Sales of germ-killing products including household-name disinfectants and bleaches surged by around 50% up to £359 million last year.
Latest figures show sales of multipurpose antibacterial cleaner rocketed 80%compared to 2019.
But a leading virus expert warns that many household-name cleaning products bought to fight Covid are not as effective as they claim.
Dr Ian Patterson, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said much of the surge in spending on cleaning products may have been based on consumers misunderstanding a key aspect of disease control.
Dr Patterson said: "It's very important that people understand the difference between anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
"Many products on the market are effective against bacteria but that does not mean they work against a virus. Covid is a virus – and one that scientists have not generally had to deal with before.
"And an anti-bacterial spray won't be as effective because it isn't targeted, and you cannot be certain that it kills viruses.
"But an anti-viral spray will target exactly what you want to target."
Dr Patterson's claims are backed by research that reveals less than 20% of UK consumers who use germ-killing products have learned the differences between viruses and bacteria since the start of the outbreak.
Dr Patterson helped in the product testing of a spray developed in conjunction with the British Army and now in use by the military – and says its anti-viral formula is 99.99% effective in tackling coronavirus.
He said: "The extra .09% is important it means it is ten times more effective.
"If a surface had 10,000 infectious virus particles on it and you clean that surface with something that is 99.99% effective, then there should be no more than a single infectious virus particle remaining on that surface – meaning that the single particle can only infect one person.
"But using something that is only 99.9% effective means there could be ten infectious virus particles remaining ~ and those ten virus particles could potentially infect ten people."
Inventor Michael Pritchard who developed the 99.99% Virusend anti-viral spray in partnership with the British Army, claims lack of understanding about the difference is leaving consumers exposed.
He said: "In the first year of the pandemic people have spend tens of millions of pounds buying cleaning products on the understanding they are getting complete protection against Covid – but they are not."
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