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Author: Kampf G et al. (2003) Source: J Hosp Infect. 2003 Nov; 55 (3): 220-5.


Kampf G et al. (2003)

Comparison of two test methods for the determination of sufficient antimicrobial activity of three commonly used alcohol-based hand rubs for hygienic hand disinfection.

Background: In Europe, there are two established and reliable methods for determining the bactericidal efficacy of alcohol-based hand disinfectants: the quantitative suspension test (prEN 12054) and the test under practical conditions (EN 1500). An additional test method introduced by the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM), which is based on EN 1500 and additionally comprises a qualitative suspension test, shall help determine at which level of dilution the hand disinfectant loses its antimicrobial activity.

Methods: The study, which was conducted to compare the three test methods, determined the bactericidal activity of three common hand disinfectants: a preparation based on 78.2 % (w/w) ethanol and two preparations based on different mixtures of several alcohols.

Results: Within 30 seconds, 3 ml of the ethanol-based product yielded a log10 reduction (5.25 ± 0.36) that was not significantly lower than the reference procedure within 60 seconds (5.33 ± 0.38). Thus, this and all other preparations fulfil the efficacy requirements in accordance with EN 1500. In the quantitative suspension test (prEN 12054), the product proved to be active against all test bacteria within 30 seconds (log10 reduction factor ≥ 5). The DGHM test showed that all examined preparations lose their bactericidal activity when they are diluted to 25 %.

Conclusions: Even though a higher ethanol content (> 80 %, w/w) normally is linked to better antimicrobial activity, also a product with slightly less ethanol concentration can meet the efficacy criteria of European standards. The DGHM test method does not provide a relevant additional value, as in clinical practice, products are not diluted to 25 %.

J Hosp Infect. 2003 Nov; 55 (3): 220-5.

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