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Some of the producers of quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are having a tough time keeping up with the world's high demand for disinfectant products during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Chemical & Engineering News.

Quats are important because they are used as an active ingredient in disinfectants as a way to weaken viruses so that they cannot penetrate cells.

The biggest producers of quats in the United States manufacture the compound by reacting tertiary amines made from alcohol and ammonia with alkyl haldies. One of those producers, Lonza Specialty Ingredients, is able to fully produce despite a slow down in raw material supply caused by supply chain issues, say reports. These raw materials that are being delayed include ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and methyl chloride, to name a few.

Another one of the large producers, Pilot, says it has been able to meet demand because it hasn't experienced supplying issues. In fact, they told C&EN: “We have not experienced shortages or supply constraints that would keep us from meeting typical demand for our products. In fact, there has been a surge in demand, and for some products we are able to ship above normal levels.”

While the supply chain isn't hurting some, it is doing damage to other makers of cleaning products. UNX Industries says it is constantly seeking out quats and has had to heavily rely on professional relationships to properly function.

An expert tells reporters that supply problems won't last too long, but it will take some time.