Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and other enveloped and non-enveloped viruses with non-thermal plasma for hospital disinfection

Maxime Sahun, Angela Privat-Maldonado, Abraham Lin, Naomi De Roeck, Lisa Van der Heyden, Michaël Hillen, Johan Michiels, Gunther Steenackers, Evelien Smits, Kevin K Ariën, Philippe G Jorens, Peter Delputte, Annemie Bogaerts

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As recently highlighted by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, viruses have become an increasing burden for health, global economy, and environment. The control of transmission by contact with contaminated materials represents a major challenge, particularly in hospital environments. However, the current disinfection methods in hospital settings suffer from numerous drawbacks. As a result, several medical supplies that cannot be properly disinfected are not reused, leading to severe shortages and increasing amounts of waste, thus prompting the search for alternative solutions. In this work, we report that non-thermal plasma (NTP) can effectively inactivate SARS-CoV-2 from non-porous and porous materials commonly found in healthcare facilities. We demonstrated that 5 min treatment with a dielectric barrier discharge NTP can inactivate 100% of SARS-CoV-2 (Wuhan and Omicron strains) from plastic material. Using porcine respiratory coronavirus (surrogate for SARS-CoV-2) and coxsackievirus B3 (highly resistant non-enveloped virus), we tested the NTP virucidal activity on hospital materials and obtained complete inactivation after 5 and 10 min, respectively. We hypothesize that the produced reactive species and local acidification contribute to the overall virucidal effect of NTP. Our results demonstrate the potential of dielectric barrier discharge NTPs for the rapid, efficient, and low-cost disinfection of healthcare materials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS sustainable chemistry & engineering
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)5206-5215
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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