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Article

Ultraviolet-C Irradiation, Heat, and Storage as Potential Methods of Inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and Bacterial Pathogens on Filtering Facepiece Respirators

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
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Department of Paediatrics, Child and Youth Health, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
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Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anna Honko
Pathogens 2022, 11(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11010083
Received: 19 December 2021 / Revised: 6 January 2022 / Accepted: 8 January 2022 / Published: 10 January 2022
The arrival of SARS-CoV-2 to Aotearoa/New Zealand in February 2020 triggered a massive response at multiple levels. Procurement and sustainability of medical supplies to hospitals and clinics during the then upcoming COVID-19 pandemic was one of the top priorities. Continuing access to new personal protective equipment (PPE) was not guaranteed; thus, disinfecting and reusing PPE was considered as a potential alternative. Here, we describe part of a local program intended to test and implement a system to disinfect PPE for potential reuse in New Zealand. We used filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) coupons inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 or clinically relevant multidrug-resistant pathogens (Acinetobacter baumannii Ab5075, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 LAC and cystic-fibrosis isolate Pseudomonas aeruginosa LESB58), to evaluate the potential use of ultraviolet-C germicidal irradiation (UV-C) or dry heat treatment to disinfect PPE. An applied UV-C dose of 1000 mJ/cm2 was sufficient to completely inactivate high doses of SARS-CoV-2; however, irregularities in the FFR coupons hindered the efficacy of UV-C to fully inactivate the virus, even at higher UV-C doses (2000 mJ/cm2). Conversely, incubating contaminated FFR coupons at 65 °C for 30 min or 70 °C for 15 min, was sufficient to block SARS-CoV-2 replication, even in the presence of mucin or a soil load (mimicking salivary or respiratory secretions, respectively). Dry heat (90 min at 75 °C to 80 °C) effectively killed 106 planktonic bacteria; however, even extending the incubation time up to two hours at 80 °C did not completely kill bacteria when grown in colony biofilms. Importantly, we also showed that FFR material can harbor replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 for up to 35 days at room temperature in the presence of a soil load. We are currently using these findings to optimize and establish a robust process for decontaminating, reusing, and reducing wastage of PPE in New Zealand. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; personal protective equipment; PPE; disinfection; bacteria; UV-C; New Zealand SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; personal protective equipment; PPE; disinfection; bacteria; UV-C; New Zealand
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MDPI and ACS Style

Harfoot, R.; Yung, D.B.Y.; Anderson, W.A.; Wild, C.E.K.; Coetzee, N.; Hernández, L.C.; Lawley, B.; Pletzer, D.; Derraik, J.G.B.; Anderson, Y.C.; Quiñones-Mateu, M.E. Ultraviolet-C Irradiation, Heat, and Storage as Potential Methods of Inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and Bacterial Pathogens on Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Pathogens 2022, 11, 83. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11010083

AMA Style

Harfoot R, Yung DBY, Anderson WA, Wild CEK, Coetzee N, Hernández LC, Lawley B, Pletzer D, Derraik JGB, Anderson YC, Quiñones-Mateu ME. Ultraviolet-C Irradiation, Heat, and Storage as Potential Methods of Inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and Bacterial Pathogens on Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Pathogens. 2022; 11(1):83. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11010083

Chicago/Turabian Style

Harfoot, Rhodri, Deborah B.Y. Yung, William A. Anderson, Cervantée E.K. Wild, Nicolene Coetzee, Leonor C. Hernández, Blair Lawley, Daniel Pletzer, José G.B. Derraik, Yvonne C. Anderson, and Miguel E. Quiñones-Mateu. 2022. "Ultraviolet-C Irradiation, Heat, and Storage as Potential Methods of Inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and Bacterial Pathogens on Filtering Facepiece Respirators" Pathogens 11, no. 1: 83. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11010083

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