Special gas kills norovirus on surfaces, researchers say

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Long-term care providers might be able to use a special type of gas to rid surfaces of norovirus, recently published findings suggest.

The gas, called cold atmospheric pressure plasma, is close to room temperature and does not harm humans or surfaces, the investigators stated. However, it reduced the viral load of a norovirus sample from 22,000 particles to 500 in 15 minutes.

"Cold plasma was able to inactivate the virus on the tested surfaces, suggesting that this method could be used for continuous disinfection of contaminated surfaces," stated senior author Günter Klein, head of the Institute of Food Quality and Food Safety at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover in Germany.

While it was not able to completely eradicate norovirus, CAPP's ability to lower its presence still would make it less likely to infect humans, Klein and his colleagues noted. Furthermore, norovirus has proven to be highly resilient to other disinfectants, such as detergents and chlorine.

Complete findings appear in mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology.