Microbes (or microorganisms) are tiny organisms that include viruses and bacteria. They are widespread in nature and many pose serious health risks to humans. Microbes can survive on common surfaces for weeks and interaction with contaminated surfaces contributes to the transmission of infectious diseases.
Antimicrobials are designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microbes, particularly pathogenic microbes, by targeting their protective layer. In viruses, this protective layer is designed to preserve the infectious components within long enough to infect a host. Non-enveloped viruses have a capsid protein layer, whilst enveloped viruses have a lipid membrane with spike proteins.
The key to inactivating a virus quickly is to damage these protective proteins and attack the DNA/RNA.