Evaluating the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide vapour against foot-and-mouth disease virus within a BSL4 biosafety facility

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An evaluation was made of the efficacy of 35% hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV) against foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) in a biosafety facility. Biological indicators (BIs) were produced using three serotypes of FMDV, all with a titre of ≥106 TCID50 per ml. Fifteen BIs of each serotype were distributed across five locations, throughout a 30-m3 airlock chamber, producing a total of 45 BIs. Thirty-five percent HPV was generated and applied using a Bioquell vaporization module located in the centre of the chamber. After a dwell period of 40 min, the HPV was removed via the enclosures air handling system and the BIs were collected. The surfaces of the BIs were recovered into Glasgow's modified Eagle's medium (GMEM), cultivated in BHK21 Cl13 cell culture and analysed for evidence of cytopathic effect (CPE). No CPE was detected in any BI sample. Positive controls showed CPE. The experimentation shows that FMDV is susceptible to HPV decontamination and presents a potential alternative to formaldehyde.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is an important pathogen in terms of biosafety due to its infectious nature and wide range of host animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Outbreaks of FMDV can have a severe impact on livestock production, causing morbidity, mortality, reduced yields and trade embargoes. Laboratories studying FMDV must possess BSL4 robust bio-decontamination methods to prevent inadvertent release. Formaldehyde has been the primary agent for environmental decontamination, but its designation as a human carcinogen has led to a search for alternatives. This study shows 35% hydrogen peroxide vapour has the potential to be a rapid, effective, residue-free alternative.

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