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J Photochem Photobiol B ; 217: 112168, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117166


Worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment during COVID-19 pandemic has forced the implementation of methods for decontaminating face piece respirators such as N95 respirators. The use of UV irradiation to reduce bioburden of used respirators attracts attention, making proper testing protocols of uttermost importance. Currently artificial saliva is used but its comparison to human saliva from the UV disinfection perspective is lacking. Here we characterize UV spectra of human and artificial saliva, both fresh and after settling, to test for possible interference for UV-based disinfection. ASTM 2720 artificial saliva recipe (with either porcine or bovine mucin) showed many discrepancies from average (N = 18) human saliva, with different mucins demonstrating very different UV absorbance spectra, resulting in very different UV transmittance at different wavelength. Reducing porcine mucin concentration from 3 to 1.7 g/L brought UVA254 in the artificial saliva to that of average human saliva (although not for other wavelengths), allowing 254 nm disinfection experiments. Phosphate saline and modified artificial saliva were spiked with 8.6 log CFU/ml B. subtilis spores (ATCC 6633) and irradiated at dose of up to 100 mJ/cm2, resulting in 5.9 log inactivation for a saline suspension, and 2.8 and 1.1 log inactivation for ASTM-no mucin and ASTM-1.7 g/L porcine mucin 2 µL dried droplets, respectively. UVC irradiation of spores dried in human saliva resulted in 2.3 and 1.5 log inactivation, depending on the size of the droplets (2 vs 10 µL, respectively) dried on a glass surface. Our results suggest that in the presence of the current standard dried artificial saliva it is unlikely that UVC can achieve 6 log inactivation of B. subtilis spores using a realistic UV dose (e.g. less than 2 J/cm2) and the ATSM saliva recipe should be revised for UV decontamination studies.

Disinfection/methods , Saliva/chemistry , Saliva/radiation effects , Animals , Bacillus subtilis/radiation effects , Canada , Cattle , Decontamination/methods , Female , Humans , Israel , Male , Mucins/chemistry , N95 Respirators , Saliva/microbiology , Specimen Handling/methods , Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet , Spores, Bacterial/radiation effects , Ultraviolet Rays
Microb Risk Anal ; 16: 100140, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-779468


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infect the human respiratory tract. A prototype thermodynamic equilibrium model is presented here for the probability of the virions getting through the mucus barrier and infecting epithelial cells based on the binding affinity (Kmucin) of the virions to mucin molecules in the mucus and parameters for binding and infection of the epithelial cell. Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 bind strongly to their cellular receptors, DDP4 and ACE2, respectively, and infect very efficiently both bronchus and lung ex vivo cell cultures which are not protected by a mucus barrier. According to the model, mucin binding could reduce the infectivity for MERS-CoV compared to SARS-CoV-2 by at least 100-fold depending on the magnitude of Kmucin. Specifically Kmucin values up to 106 M-1 have little protective effect and thus the mucus barrier would not remove SARS-CoV-2 which does not bind to sialic acids (SA) and hence would have a very low Kmucin. Depending on the viability of individual virions, the ID50 for SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be ~500 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 1 to 2 pfu. In contrast MERS-CoV binds both SA and human mucin and a Kmucin of 5 × 109 M-1 as reported for lectins would mop up 99.83% of the virus according to the model with the ID50 for MERS-CoV estimated to be ~295,000 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 819 pfu. This could in part explain why MERS-CoV is poorly transmitted from human to human compared to SARS-CoV-2. Some coronaviruses use an esterase to escape the mucin, although MERS-CoV does not. Instead, it is shown here that "clustering" of virions into single aerosol particles as recently reported for rotavirus in extracellular vesicles could provide a co-operative mechanism whereby MERS-CoV could theoretically overcome the mucin barrier locally and a small proportion of 10 µm diameter aerosol particles could contain ~70 virions based on reported maximum levels in saliva. Although recent evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 initiates infection in the nasal epithelium, the thermodynamic equilibrium models presented here could complement published approaches for modelling the physical entry of pathogens to the lung based on the fate and transport of the pathogen particles (as for anthrax spores) to develop a dose-response model for aerosol exposure to respiratory viruses. This would enable the infectivity through aerosols to be defined based on molecular parameters as well as physical parameters. The role of the spike proteins of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 binding to SA and heparan sulphate, respectively, may be to aid non-specific attachment to the host cell. It is proposed that a high Kmucin is the cost for subsequent binding of MERS-CoV to SAs on the cell surface to partially overcome the unfavourable entropy of immobilisation as the virus adopts the correct orientation for spike protein interactions with its protein cellular receptor DPP4.