Rigorous hand hygiene is hands down part of a winning strategy in defeating COVID-19.

Americans are sanitizing their hands – a lot – all in an effort to stop the invasion of the nasty little virus.

Constant hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers is one of the most successful ways to disintegrate the spiky germ. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of hand sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

There is a non-alcohol hand sanitizer produced by Trey King and his team at Three Kings Corp. of Corinth that may be a game changer. King believes his product, DAB (Defense Against Bacteria), should be in the battle against deadly germs.

The active ingredient in King’s hand sanitizer is the germicide benzalkonium chloride or “BZK,” one of the three germicides approved by the FDA for “hand rub” use. The other two are isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Laboratory tests show BZK, when properly manufactured, is successful in killing bacteria and most viruses.

“My team and I have been working on the DAB project since 2015,” said the healthcare entrepreneur. “We began developing the hand sanitizer for our own use to help prevent cross-contamination between us and the healthcare workers and pharmacies we worked with.

“At the time there were several reports in the news about cross-contamination in hospitals being a huge problem,” he continued. “The reports indicated there were certain bacteria building a tolerance to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Since my business worked with specialty drugs and compounding pharmacies, I was interested because we were using hand sanitizers all day long like everyone else in the medical field.”

King asked Dr. Sidney Bondurant to design some research studies to help prove DAB’s effectiveness in reducing cross-contamination in hospital environments. Bondurant and King became acquainted through their shared passion of Civil War relic hunting which they often did in history-rich Alcorn County.

Dr. Bondurant became chief medical officer at Three Kings. The retired legislator and physician had been in the medical profession almost 40 years. His background includes serving as a medical officer for the U.S. Navy Search and Rescue during the Vietnam War.

“A trade secret combined with the inactive ingredients, Trey formulated with his BZK compound really gave DAB a distinct advantage,” said Dr. Bondurant. “It’s been known for some time BZK has a persistent affect but the inactive ingredients Trey put in made the persistence much more pronounced.”

An independent study was done at BioSciences Laboratory in Bozeman, Mont. The laboratory had a good reputation for dealing with the particular issue of persistency and was one of a handful of labs used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The study focused on the persistence of DAB on the skin against staphylococcus aureus, a virulent infection that occurs in hospitals and communities.

“If someone held their hand under a black UV light in a dark room, the color change caused the area where DAB covered the skin to look like a glove,” said Bondurant, a former chemistry major. “BSL found the hand sanitizer was effective in killing 99 percent or more of the staphylococcus aureus germs on human skin for at least four hours.”

Dr. Bondurant co-authored the study which appeared last year in “The American Journal of Infection Control.”

Another study was done with doctors and nurses in Mississippi medical clinics who had been using alcohol-based sanitizers. Their fingertips were cultured with staphylococcus aureus in the morning when they came to work and then again in the afternoon after they had worked an entire day. The number of staph germs were counted on the participants’ fingertips during the week they were using the alcohol-based sanitizer. The next week, the alcohol-based sanitizer was replaced with DAB.

The number of staph germs on their fingertips after using DAB for a week was reduced by 40 percent.

“That was a significant reduction in staph germs,” said Bondurant. “In addition, the nurses said they preferred the DAB hand sanitizer because it didn’t sting or have the medicine smell and their hands stayed soft.”

The study has since been published in a peer reviewed medical journal.

“DAB’s real quality is its residual effectiveness,” said King. “The whole concept behind it was to prevent cross contamination and provide a safety net in between the time healthcare workers wash their hands and apply hand sanitizer.”

COVID-19 has brought much more attention to proper hand hygiene as people are more aware of the precautions they need to take. King said the coronavirus outbreak has been a catalyst for helping hospitals recognize how DAB could be a real game changer in healthcare settings.

“What Three Kings is proving with the DAB formula is we are equivalent or even superior to hand sanitizer formulas using alcohol. In addition, our formula offers the residual effect alcohol can’t,” he said. “COVID-19 will come and go, but we were doing this long before this outbreak. Hand transmitted bacteria is responsible for 80 percent of illnesses and diseases. When you take into consideration of what hand bacteria causes, DAB is a really big deal.”

A laboratory test was done to see how effective DAB would be against the coronavirus. Virologists used a strain that was structurally similar to COVID-19. When they tested a cell culture with DAB, the hand sanitizer inactivated more than 99.99 percent of the virus.

An ongoing study is being done by Dr. Chris Morrow with Texas Tech University and recently retired U.S. Navy Medical Corps Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson. Jackson was chief medical advisor to Presidents G.W. Bush, B.H. Obama and D.J. Trump.

The hand sanitizer is being put in hospitals as an addition to the CDC recommended hand hygiene protocol to see if DAB will help reduce hospital acquired infections. So far the study has been going on for three months.

King, 45, became interested in the composition of nutraceuticals while attending Northeast Mississippi Community College. He owned a nutrition store in Corinth, then in 2002 saw an opportunity to open a compounding pharmacy to provide medicine for a friend’s durable medical equipment business. As he expanded to compounding specialty drugs, he developed his new hand sanitizer as a way to reduce the liability of the contraction and transmission of bacteria. He started Three Kings Corp in 2017 which owns DAB.

DAB is mass manufactured out of Walton, Ky. and Dallas, Texas. Despite a recent shortage of plastic bottles due to the coronavirus outbreak, King’s company recently secured a new bottle and pump source out of Mexico. The plant has the capacity to produce between three to five million bottles and pumps per month.

The 1992 Alcorn Central High School graduate is the father of two – Laikyn, 21, a sophomore at Ole Miss and Tret, 16, a freshman at Corinth High School. He is proud his company is a Mississippi corporation.

“To tell DAB’s story before the coronavirus outbreak probably wouldn’t have created as much attention, but the story has been the same all along,” said the healthcare entrepreneur. “We were working toward introducing DAB to the healthcare industry as a way to protect lives long before the coronavirus.”

DAB can be ordered at dabprotects.com which also has a store locator where the hand sanitizer can be bought locally.

A resident of Corinth, Carol Humphreys is a freelance writer and contributor to the Daily Corinthian, Crossroads Magazine and Pickwick Profiles.

Editor

A 1981 University of Tennessee - Martin graduate, Mark Boehler has over 40 years of journalism experience. His wife Dawn is the love of his life and they share five grown children and 10 grandchildren. His passion is his work - writing and photography.

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