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Dishwashing soap and other household cleaning products are likely to be effective disinfectants against the novel coronavirus, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

Such items could be used as alternatives to alcohol-based disinfectants, stocks of which continue to be scarce as demand has soared, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

An expert panel set up by the ministry and the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation named three types of compounds that are thought to work against the coronavirus.

They are surfactants, widely used as active agents in cleaners and detergents, hypochlorous acid water, a popular disinfectant in the food industry, and quaternary ammonium salts, which can be found in anti-bacterial wipes.

The panel came to the conclusion after looking at past data including from the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic.

Further research will be conducted to test the efficacy of the compounds, first using samples of the Type A flu virus, which is similar in composition to the novel coronavirus, the ministry said, adding that the results will be released possibly next month.

It said testing with the virus will be conducted once samples are more readily available.

Japan has been scrambling to address shortages of alcohol-based disinfectants as well as face masks, as demand remains high amid a recent surge in COVID-19 infections, especially in urban areas including Tokyo.

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