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Are there different types of viruses? Which one is COVID-19?

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Source: Quincy Network

Did you know that there are different types of viruses?

Because there are! Viruses can be generally categorized into three groups by virus structure. This affects the effectiveness of disinfectants in killing the viruses.1

  • Enveloped viruses are easiest to kill. (Examples are Influenza A Virus. Herpes Simplex Virus, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV))
  • Large, non-enveloped viruses are more difficult to kill. (An example is Rotavirus or Adenovirus.)
  • Small, non-enveloped viruses are hardest to kill. (Examples are Rhinovirus, Poliovirus, Coxsackie Virus, Parvovirus, and Norovirus.)

So which virus is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product.

Since the novel coronavirus is lipid encapsulated, once you disrupt the lipid bilayer, it exposes the core proteins inactivating the virus, so it’s considered easier to kill vs. a non-enveloped virus.1

How do I protect myself against COVID-19?

You should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using an EPA-registered disinfectant on the EPA List N.

Source: Assets Adobe

What is the EPA List N and how does it help?

The EPA List N is a comprehensive list where when used according to the label directions can kill the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). These products are for use on surfaces, not humans. Children should not use these products.2

A product that is likely to provide the greatest protection to you from COVID-19 will have claims against at least one non-enveloped virus such as Norovirus, Feline Calicivirus, Poliovirus, Rhinovirus, or Reovirus. This theory is the basis by which EPA has activated its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides, regulating registrants that claim their products are effective against COVID-193.

On July 6th, 2020, the US EPA announced it approved a test method for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thus allowing disinfectants to get tested and submit their data to the US EPA for acceptance. If approved, they would be allowed to start the process of updating their chemical labels to include the SARS-CoV-2 claim.4

If you want to learn more about the EPA List N and to effectively use it read our blog ‘What is the EPA List N and why should I care? here


Source: Facility Executive

How do products on the EPA List N help protect us against SARS-CoV-2?

The EPA expects the products on List N to kill SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, because they:

  • Demonstrate efficacy against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19);
  • Demonstrate efficacy against a pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19); or
  • Demonstrate efficacy against a different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).5

Most of the disinfectants on EPA List N were already EPA-registered as hospital/healthcare or broad-spectrum disinfectant. Their directions included use on hard, porous or non-porous surfaces based upon claims and testing against at least one non-enveloped virus.

Can I use other products that aren’t on the EPA List N?

You should stick to the products listed on the EPA List N. In reviewing a disinfectant for expedited review, the EPA would do a more thorough review of product chemistry, acute toxicology and appropriate efficacy studies. The efficacy data qualifies the product as a broad-spectrum or hospital hard surface disinfectant and includes virucidal efficacy data for SARS-CoV-2 or another human coronavirus (e.g., ATCC 229E) or a non-enveloped virus.4

Find out more on protecting yourself against viruses in our blog ‘How do I protect myself against them?' here

Can I clean my device in a Catalyst case with approved disinfectants on the EPA List N?

Of course! Catalyst Total Protection Waterproof Cases have been tested to sustain repeated disinfection with 70% isopropyl alcohol and 70% ethanol. These have proven to work against similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS by a study by the Journal of Hospital Infection6.

If the surface is visibly dirty, wash it first with soap and water. Then, follow with an EPA-approved disinfectant, paying attention to proper contact time – the surface should remain wet the whole time to ensure the disinfectant is effective.7

It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide a recommended disinfection protocol, and as you can tell, we’ve done our homework to come up with a recommendation.

Check out how to clean your phone case with our Total Protection range safely here.


Want to learn more?

There are a lot of details and considerations when learning about different viruses and go into picking the right disinfectant to use against them on a device or surface. To learn more about our recommended disinfection protocol, check out our full whitepaper ‘How can you safely Disinfect your Devices against the SARS-CoV-2-Coronavirus’ here.


  1. American Chemistry Council, Center for Biocide Chemistries Answers Your Questions About COVID-19,, American Chemistry Council, (2020).
  1. List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19) USA Environmental Protection Agency (2020).
  1. Guidance to Registrants: Process for making claims against emerging Viral Pathogens not on EPA-Registered Disinfectant Labels,, USA Environmental Protection Agency (2016).
  1. EPA Approves First Surface Disinfectant Products Tested on the SARS-CoV-2 Virus Environmental Protection Agency (2020).
  1. List N: How does EPA know that the products on List N work on SARS-CoV-2? USA Environmental Protection Agency (2020).
  1. The Journal of Hospital Infection. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, Healthcare Infection Society (2020).
  1. 6 Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use. Protection Agency (2020).


B2B catalyst catalyst case consumer technology coronavirus covid covid-19 disinfect disinfection EPA approved disinfectants EPA List N phone hygiene PPE SARS-CoV-2 total protection Total Protection Case washable cases Waterproof phone case

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