In a press release Thursday, a disease control representative warned that alcohol based hand sanitizers are not effective against swine flu, and may in fact be promoting its spread.
"The data is still coming in, but preliminary reports point to an alarming increase in the number of confirmed Swine Flu cases amongst families that are frequent users of alcohol based hand sanitizers," said a spokesman.
The report notes that viewed under a microscope, virus specimens exposed to sufficient quantities of alcohol based hand-sanitizer are observed to be "stumbling around trying to procreate." The resulting phenomenon, dubbed a "Virus Orgy" by some scientists, has led to a viral multiplication rate over 100 times greater than the non-alcohol induced rates.
This is not the first virus that has demonstrated a resistance to alcohol. Indeed, in places where alcohol is regularly over-used, there has been an alarming trend towards bugs that just cannot be taken down using conventional means. Some may remember last year's tequila resistant "Cancun Fever" which made news in some border cities and college towns. Disease control would not comment on whether the so-called Swine Flu "patient zero" was in fact from Cancun, but has acknowledged that some American party-goers may have inadvertently brought the disease back to the United States.
Pharmaceutical companies are rushing "Sanitizer Cocktails" to market, in the hopes of taking down resistant virus strains. One company has reportedly asked for emergency certification of one mix of methyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, and peroxide. However, aside from combining known compounds, options are limited since few new sanitizers have been developed in recent years. Members of President Obama's staff have criticized Big Pharma's continued focus on big money drugs while neglecting the development of new, more powerful hand sanitizers. When confronted on this issue, one pharmaceutical CEO blamed the system:
"Look we just don't have any incentive to spend precious R&D dollars on something that's going to be sold next to the Tic-Tacs at your local pharmacy for 99 cents. We have to go after the home-run drugs that we can charge hundreds of dollars for and that people will take for the rest of their lives. It's regrettable that this may cause the downfall of our species, but it's economics."