Virucidal activity of a quaternary ammonium compound disinfectant against feline calicivirus: a surrogate for norovirus

Luis Jimenez, Michael Chiang
American Journal of Infection Control 2006, 34 (5): 269-73

BACKGROUND: Norovirus, formerly known as Norwalk virus, is an important cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in hospitals, food services, schools, and cruise ships. Infection control practices by using disinfectants to eliminate noroviruses from surfaces and environmental samples reduce the morbidity and spread of virus outbreaks. There are not many commercial disinfectants effective against norovirus. Noroviruses cannot be cultivated in vitro. However, feline calicivirus can be used as a surrogate to determine disinfectant efficacy against noroviruses. Feline calicivirus was used in a virucidal effectiveness test protocol as a surrogate for norovirus to determine the virucidal efficacy of R-82, a quaternary ammonium compound disinfectant cleaner.

METHODS: Feline calicivirus suspensions containing at least 5% fetal bovine serum were dried on carriers and treated with 1:256 dilutions of R-82 disinfectant in water, with a hardness of 400 ppm as calcium carbonate, for 10 minutes. Hypochlorite concentrations of 100 +/- 10 and 1,000 +/- 10 ppm, respectively, were also analyzed as internal control standards. After contact period, the test agents were neutralized with 2 mL of appropriate neutralizer, and mixtures were scraped from carrier surfaces with a cell scraper. Selected dilutions of the neutralized inoculum/test agent mixtures were added to cultured cell monolayers of appropriate host cells. Postincubation, the infectious feline calicivirus was scored microscopically by observing virus-specific cytopathic effects produced by replicating infectious virus. The performance criterion was a minimum of 4-log(10) reduction in cytopathic effects of feline calicivirus.

RESULTS: After a 10-minute contact time, formulation R-82 diluted 1:256 showed a 6.6- and 6.4-log(10) reductions in cytopathic effects of feline calicivirus during initial and confirmatory testing, respectively, demonstrating complete inactivation of the virus. A hypochlorite solution of 1,000 ppm exhibited similar log(10) reductions to the quaternary ammonium disinfectant, demonstrating the reproducibility of the protocol.

CONCLUSION: Formulation R-82, a quaternary ammonium compound, is a 1-step disinfectant cleaner, which exhibited virucidal activity against feline calicivirus suspensions dried on hard surface carriers. Surfaces are vectors for virus transmission during outbreaks by transferring the virus to people or other environmental surfaces. Therefore, treatment of contaminated surfaces with formulation R-82 will optimize disinfection of noncritical and critical surfaces in health care institutions, reducing the possibility of virus transmission during outbreaks.

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