All Surfaces Are Not Equal in Contact Transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Xuan Xue, Jonathan K. Ball, Cameron Alexander, Morgan R. Alexander*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The world faces a severe and acute public health emergency due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Healthcare workers are in the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak response and are exposed to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection daily. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is their main defense against viral contamination; gloves, visors, face masks, and gown materials are designed to eliminate viral transfer from infected patients. Here, we review research investigating the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and similar viruses on surfaces and highlight opportunities for materials that can actively reduce SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination and associated transmission and improve PPE. It remains to be seen if any of the existing materials commonly used to fabricate PPE may offer improvements in viral binding and inactivation rate at their surface; for example, comparative viral lifetime data cannot be found for the three types of polymer gloves commonly used clinically. The theoretical basis for describing viral particle interactions at synthetic surfaces is not well developed. One means of identifying materials that does not require such a theoretical framework, and could help to build it, is to use high-throughput polymer microarray screening. There also appears to be an opportunity to develop new polymers for use, i.e., those that bind virus particles strongly and speed the inactivation of adsorbed virus under conditions modeling ambient transmission. In the medium term, there are a number of lines of enquiry for the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 PPE materials that could reduce contact transfer of infectious virus in clinical and public settings. The world faces a severe and acute public health emergency caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Healthcare workers are on the front line and exposed to the risk of infection daily. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is their main defense against viral contamination. We review research investigating the binding and stability of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses on surfaces, and highlight opportunities for materials that can actively reduce infectious SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination and associated transmission to improve PPE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1441
Number of pages9
JournalMatter
Volume3
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • contact transfer
  • personal protective equipment
  • polymer
  • surface
  • virus

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