Battelle researchers are working three new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects to determine how long the virus that causes COVID-19 lives on a variety of surfaces and what available disinfecting products are effective.
The EPA funding will make way for the study of the persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on a variety of materials including stainless steel, laminate and paint that are common in public spaces. There will be a particular focus on materials used on high-touch surfaces in mass transit environments such as subway seat covers and escalator handrail belts.
“This work is critical to EPA’s efforts to helping America reopen,” said Battelle Senior Research Scientist and project manager Ryan James. “Many governmental and commercial stakeholders are interested in the results that Battelle’s work for EPA will provide.”
Battelle’s researchers also will study effective methods for removing and preventing contamination on surfaces. Multiple disinfection approaches, including commercially available cleaners such as dish soap and disinfectants, will be tested. The team is working with the EPA to select disinfectants with a range of active ingredients from EPA’s existing list of registered products (List N). Another project also will evaluate how effective germicidal ultraviolet light and ozone treatment are to decontaminate materials from SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers will be testing he effectiveness of anti-viral surface pre-treatments to reduce exposure to viruses. As the use of electrostatic sprayers to apply antimicrobial coatings has increased during the pandemic, researchers will be assessing the effectiveness of these methods for disinfection and contamination prevention.
“We’ll use SARS-CoV-2 and surrogate coronaviruses to determine how long these treatments are effective over time,” said Battelle Principal Research Scientist Meg Howard. “After applying products, we’ll let it undergo natural use and weathering for a period of days or weeks and then add the virus to see if it provides protection.”
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