Publication date: Jan 23, 2024
Anti-viral surface coatings are under development to prevent viral fomite transmission from high-traffic touch surfaces in public spaces. Copper’s anti-viral properties have been widely documented, but the anti-viral mechanism of copper surfaces is not fully understood. We screened a series of metal and metal oxide surfaces for anti-viral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Copper and copper oxide surfaces exhibited superior anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity; however, the level of anti-viral activity was dependent on the composition of the carrier solution used to deliver virus inoculum. We demonstrate that copper ions released into solution from test surfaces can mediate virus inactivation, indicating a copper ion dissolution-dependent anti-viral mechanism. The level of anti-viral activity is, however, not dependent on the amount of copper ions released into solution per se. Instead, our findings suggest that degree of virus inactivation is dependent on copper ion complexation with other biomolecules (e. g., proteins/metabolites) in the virus carrier solution that compete with viral components. Although using tissue culture-derived virus inoculum is experimentally convenient to evaluate the anti-viral activity of copper-derived test surfaces, we propose that the high organic content of tissue culture medium reduces the availability of “uncomplexed” copper ions to interact with the virus, negatively affecting virus inactivation and hence surface anti-viral performance. We propose that laboratory anti-viral surface testing should include virus delivered in a physiologically relevant carrier solution (saliva or nasal secretions when testing respiratory viruses) to accurately predict real-life surface anti-viral performance when deployed in public spaces. IMPORTANCEThe purpose of evaluating the anti-viral activity of test surfaces in the laboratory is to identify surfaces that will perform efficiently in preventing fomite transmission when deployed on high-traffic touch surfaces in public spaces. The conventional method in laboratory testing is to use tissue culture-derived virus inoculum; however, this study demonstrates that anti-viral performance of test copper-containing surfaces is dependent on the composition of the carrier solution in which the virus inoculum is delivered to test surfaces. Therefore, we recommend that laboratory surface testing should include virus delivered in a physiologically relevant carrier solution to accurately predict real-life test surface performance in public spaces. Understanding the mechanism of virus inactivation is key to future rational design of improved anti-viral surfaces. Here, we demonstrate that release of copper ions from copper surfaces into small liquid droplets containing SARS-CoV-2 is a mechanism by which the virus that causes COVID-19 can be inactivated.
|Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2