Image source: Unsplash/Mélissa Jeanty

News • Cultural differences matter

Study shows: Hand washing is key against COVID-19

Countries where people do not have a habit of washing their hands automatically tend to have a much higher exposure to coronavirus, a new study reveals.

University of Birmingham researchers have discovered that at least 50% of people do not have a habit of automatic handwashing after using the toilet in China (77%), Japan (70%), South Korea (61%) and the Netherlands (50%). These countries are followed by Thailand and Kenya, where 48% do not have this habit, and Italy with 43%. In contrast, UK and US frequencies are 25% and 23%, correspondingly. The best handwashing culture is observed in Saudi Arabia, where only 3% of people do not wash their hands habitually.

Professor Ganna Pogrebna, from Birmingham Business School and Dr. Alex Kharlamov, from Birmingham Law School, published their findings in Regulation & Governance.

asian woman in green shirt washing hands
Washing hands is a prime factor in stopping COVID-19 spread, a new study confirms

Image source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Professor Pogrebna commented: “Countries where people do not have a habit of washing their hands automatically tend to have a much higher exposure to COVID-19. In the absence of a cure or vaccine, the current outbreak obliges humanity to find ways of reducing the potential risk of infection. Frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds is widely advised as a preventive measure against COVID-19. It is possible to quickly influence individual hygiene behaviour in the short term, but changing handwashing culture in a particular country – or globally – is a much more difficult task.”

In 2015, the BVA France Sarl, Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research and GALLUP International published data on human handwashing habits from 63 countries around the globe by asking people to agree or disagree with the following statement “Washing your hands with soap after using a toilet is something you do automatically."

Professor Pogrebna and Dr. Kharlamov used the dataset of 64,002 respondents as a proxy of handwashing culture to explore the impact of this culture on the COVID-19 outbreak magnitude. Dr. Alex Kharlamov commented: “Many factors may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 around the globe, but handwashing culture alone appears to be an important factor in explaining why some counties have been hit harder by the outbreak. Time will tell whether the challenges posed by COVID-19 will help to make handwashing culture around the globe more unified. However, the data – adjusted for cultural differences and differences in economic development between countries – demonstrated a very strong correlation between lack of handwashing culture and exposure to the virus.”


Source: University of Birmingham

25.03.2020

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

News • Effective prevention

Covid-19 vaccination greatly reduces infectious viral load

By comparing the infectious viral load caused by ancestral SARS-CoV-2 as well as by the Delta and Omicron variants, scientists highlight the benefits of vaccination.

Photo

News • Covid-19 drug monitoring

Smart sensor to evaluate vaccine safety

A new study enables developers to determine vaccine safety via smart sensors that measure objective physiological parameters. This could end the reliance on subjective reports of study participants.

Photo

News • UV-C barrier against aerosols

An 'invisible wall' to keep out SARS-CoV-2

An invisible protective wall of UV-C light developed by researchers in Munich could reliably curb the spread of viruses and other pathogens in rooms while allowing total freedom of movement.

Related products

Beckman Coulter – SARS-CoV-2 Assays

Immunoassays

Beckman Coulter – SARS-CoV-2 Assays

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics
i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

LIS, Middleware, POCT

i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

i-SOLUTIONS Health GmbH
Lifotronic  SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Detection Kit

Immunoassays

Lifotronic SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Detection Kit

Lifotronic Technology Co., Ltd
Lifotronic – SARS-CoV-2 Antigen

Immunoassays

Lifotronic – SARS-CoV-2 Antigen

Lifotronic Technology Co., Ltd
Lifotronic – SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Acid Detection Kit

Detection

Lifotronic – SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Acid Detection Kit

Lifotronic Technology Co., Ltd
Subscribe to Newsletter