Research for infection protection

What does virucidal activity mean?

An active substance that is effective against both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses is called virucidal. This efficacy is referred to as virucidal activity. Such a disinfectant acts non-specifically on a virus, so that the virus no longer has any infectivity if the disinfectant is used correctly. Thus, virucidal disinfectants play a significant role in infection prevention.

Enveloped viruses are easier to inactivate than non-enveloped viruses, as the lipids of the virus envelope serve as a point of attack for the disinfectant, making it easier to denature the virus.

 

Virucidal properties can be proven by different standards

There are both German and European standardised test methods with which virucidal efficacy can be determined. Among other things, the test methods differ in the specific test organisms which represent a group of microorganisms.

Proof of virucidal efficacy according to the European Standard DIN EN 14476

At a European level, virucidal efficacy is verified by EN 14476. The first version of EN 14476 was published in 2005 and has since been amended several times. The efficacy of the respective disinfectant can be shown in the areas of hand disinfection, surface disinfection, instrument disinfection and chemo-thermal disinfection. EN 14476 is tested with the test pathogens:

  • Adenovirus
  • Murine Norovirus
  • Poliovirus
  • Murine Parvovirus (for chemo-thermal disinfection)

Proof of virucidal efficacy according to DVV/RKI guidelines

Test methods based on the recommendations of the German Association for the Control of Virus Diseases (DVV) have been applied in Germany since 1982. The DVV/RKI guideline for the proof of virucidal efficacy was developed in cooperation with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to the DVV/RKI guideline, the following test pathogens are used to prove virucidal efficacy:

  • Adenovirus
  • Murine Norovirus
  • Poliovirus
  • SV 40, a representative of the polyomaviruses
  • Murine Parvovirus (for chemo-thermal disinfection)


SV 40 is tested representing the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. Therefore, testing for this virus is particularly important for disinfectants used on vaginal probes.

 

Differentiation versus other effective activities of the virucidal spectrum

Not every disinfectant can prove to have a full virucidal effect. A distinction is therefore made between three areas of efficacy, which indicate which viruses can be reliably inactivated by the respective disinfectant.

Disinfectants that inactivate only enveloped viruses show limited virucidal activity.
Limited spectrum virucidal activity are disinfectants that inactivate enveloped viruses and specific non-enveloped viruses. The non-enveloped viruses that are inactivated in this efficacy range are the test pathogens adeno- and noroviruses and rotaviruses.

The efficacy range virucidal indicates that the respective disinfectant inactivates both enveloped as well as non-enveloped viruses.

Virucidal disinfectants inactivate enveloped as well as non-enveloped viruses.
Virucidal disinfectants inactivate enveloped as well as non-enveloped viruses.