Iodine was first popularized as a surface and wound disinfectant shortly before the Civil War.
Since that time its rapid destruction of viruses, fungi, and spores has been repeatedly documented in the scientific literature. Certain inherent disadvantages, however, such as staining, tissue irritation, pain on application, offensive odor, and rapid inactivation by complexing with proteins and certain drugs, led to the introduction of a host of other disinfectants. None of these have, unfortunately, equaled iodine in range and rapidity of action.
Recently, several new complexes of iodine have been introduced. One, a complex of iodine with polyvinylpyrrolidone, a plasma expander, has been reported to be effective for surface disinfection and in treatment of eczematoid tinea.1-3 Other new iodine complexes, the so-called ``iodophors'' have been available for the past few years. In these compounds, iodine has been complexed with various surfactants, to produce certain unique advantages.
KENNETH H. BURDICK. Iodophors in DermatologyA Clinical Note. AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(5):587–589. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560230073018