A Northside company that markets a hand sanitizer is rapidly expanding as demands skyrocket in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic fear.
Medical Spark, run by Northsiders Bob Crisler, Sid Bondurant, MD, and Kurt Metzner, is struggling to meet demand for their Dab hand sanitizer from all around the globe, including China.
Demand for sanitizers is closely correlated with research studies proving effectiveness and Dab has posted impressive results recently.
The test results came back last week from the FDA-approved Bio Sciences testing laboratory in Bozeman, Montana. The 99.9 kill rating is the highest level possibly achieved through laboratory testing.
But the key to Dab hand rub may be a quality called “persistence,” which means it continues to kill the virus for hours after it’s been applied and probably much longer. This is in contrast to existing hand sanitizers which are alcohol based and lose their ability to protect within seconds once the alcohol evaporates.
Dab’s “persistence” has been proven with bacteria. If it is proven with viruses, particularly the COVID-19, global demand for the product would skyrocket. Medical Spark is working non-stop to complete these testing results, including on the COVID-19 virus itself.
The China connection began when Medical Spark, connected with Madison residents Gary and Na Beck. Na is from China where her relatives manage pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. A chance introduction started fast tracking the approval process in China, where officials are urgently fighting the new virulent coronaviurs COVID-19.
G&N Enterprises has extensive contacts in China and has been selling products there since 1999.
Former Governor Phil Bryant’s new company, Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners, is helping Dab navigate the complex legal requirements in China. Bulk shipments of Dab could soon be headed to China.
Bryant said, “I am always proud to help a Mississippian who is working to provide better health care to people in need. This is a unique opportunity to help bring an amazing product to the world.”
Speeding up the approval process is being made more difficult by the disruption in the China production processes caused by COVID-19 containment. Lab testing personnel are restricted because of strict quarantines.
Dab was invented in Corinth, in 20015 by Trey King in his compounding laboratory. Unlike most hand sanitizers that use alcohol, Dab uses the germicide, benzalkonium chloride (BZK), which, along with alcohol, is one of three germicides allowed by the FDA for “hand rub” use.
Hand sanitizer producers prefer alcohol because its cheap and easy to produce, but laboratory tests shows BZK, when properly manufactured, is effective in killing bacteria and most viruses.
King’s discovery, now its trade secret, was a special agent that created a glove-like effect, allowing the BZK to remain on the hand for hours, creating a long-acting protective seal against viruses. The discovery was made by accident.
King said, “We just stumbled into it. We invented for ourselves to reduce our liability from contamination of our pharmaceuticals. There’s no room for error when you’re compounding drugs.
“The key to the product is the residual effect of it which we’ve proven clinically with one of the top science labs in the country with a peer-reviewed report published in a national publication.”
Last year the American Journal for Infection Control published a report very favorable to Dab. The report concluded, “We found the total colony count in the BZK week was significantly lower than the total colony count in the ethanol week. This may reflect the persistence of BZK on the skin for a longer time than has been previously documented. Ethanol sanitizer has an immediate kill effect on bacteria but then has no persistence.”
Persistence is the key, King said, “You can wash your hands, but the minute you walk into McDonald’s and start touching cash, the food that was handled, the door, anything, then you can be infected. Eighty percent of infections are transmitted by hands. Traditional hand sanitizers have no persistence, meaning they don’t continue to kill germs for hours after application.
“If people will use this product I can assure you that it will reduce the transmission of germs. This stuff works big time,” King said.
Another benefit is compliance, King said. “Dab doesn’t dry out your hands or smell or create a gummy feel. If anything, it makes your hands feel soft. Compliance is important.”
Current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restrictions don’t allow hand sanitizer companies to make claims about killing COVID-19 unless the sanitizer goes through a lengthy approval and testing process that can take years. The FDA just recently forced several hand sanitizers to remove such claims from their labels and packaging or suffer legal action. The danger of handling the COVID-19 virus makes it impossible to test.
So Medical Spark, working with King, tested Dab against a coronavirus with a similar structure COVID 229E which has an RNA encapsulated center just like COVID-19. The results were compelling.
Both the United States, China and many other countries are attempting to speed up the hand sanitizer testing process against the actual COVID-19 virus.
Medical Spark was founded by Crisler, a lifelong Northsider, and his partners Metzner, former CEO of Baptist Hospital, and Bondurant, retired physician, two-time legislator, member of Madison United Methodist Church and former legislative liaison for Gov. Bryant.
Medical Spark’s role has been to prove Dab’s effectiveness through peer-review clinical trials and get the results published in top scientific journals. So far, the results are impressive.
Dab can be found in various convenience stores in the Jackson area and throughout north Mississippi and southern Tennessee. It can be ordered online at dabprotects.com.