B2 High-Intermediate US 695 Folder Collection
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Washing your hands with soap is possibly the simplest way to flush pathogens down the drain.
Soap molecules can interact with pathogens, such as coronavirus leading to their destruction.
Each molecule has 2 parts.
The head is hydrophilic, which means it likes to interact with water, while the lipid tail
is hydrophobic, which means it wants to get away from water to find similar, water-avoiding particles.
This is the basis of how soap works.
When the molecules encounter lipid particles on our skin, the tails aggregate around them
to form spherical structures called micelles, creating water-free environment.
Similar thing happens when they encounter enveloped viruses such as coronavirus.
Enveloped viruses carry their genome and supporting proteins inside a lipid bilayer membrane
with the proteins necessary for infection embedded in the membrane.
In cells and viruses these lipids are packed neatly into 2 sheets
with the lipid tails facing inward.
The lipid ends of the soap molecules are attracted to the lipids in the membrane.
They take advantage of the presence of membrane proteins, which can perturb the neatly organized
bilayer to insert themselves into the viral membrane.
If there is only a small amount of soap, the soap molecules only loosen the membrane,
but with more soap, they begin to create micelles around membrane lipids.
They are also attracted to hydrophobic amino acids in the membrane proteins,
extracting them from the membrane.
The structural integrity of a virus is essential for infection.
So, washing your hands with soap protects you better from infection than washing with only water,
and the longer you lather, the higher your chance of destroying the virus.
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Fighting Coronavirus with Soap

695 Folder Collection
ally.chang published on April 16, 2020
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