What does a table, door handle, and light switch all have in common?

They are all high touch surfaces that can harbor microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) invisible to the human eye. Everyday we transmit and pick up microorganisms on our hands while interacting with the environment around us. Most microorganisms pose no risk to humans, however, some can be harmful, i.e. a pathogen.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive at room temperature on plastic, vinyl, stainless steel, and glass for up to 28 days! [1]

Indirect transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur through contamination of commonly touched objects, virus aerosolization in confined spaces, or spread from people with asymptomatic infections [2]. Hands can transmit viruses from skin to surface when they come into contact with a surface or fomite [3]. A fomite is any inanimate object (stethoscope, touchscreen devices, cup, etc.) that gets contaminated with pathogens, like viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and transfers disease to a new host [3]. Research suggests that fomites may be an important contributor in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 [4]. The risk of acquiring an infection from touching a surface or object depends on the pathogen’s ability to cause infection (viability), the amount of pathogen (inoculum), and the host defenses (human immune system) [5]. Fortunately, SARS-CoV-2 is susceptible to standard disinfection methods. Implementing daily cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces and commonly touched objects can help stop indirect transmission of SARS-CoV-2 [5].

Cleaning staff have an enormous responsibility to ensure thorough cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces. Yet, they are often equipped with low-tech and inadequate tools for the job. Chemical disinfection using sprays, mists, and pre-moistened wipes, is prone to human error. It requires specific dilutions, contact times, and order of cleaning to avoid cross-contamination [6]. Research has shown that surfaces in a room may be missed during the cleaning and disinfection process [7] and the pathogens left behind on surfaces may pose an infection risk for the next person that touches it [8]. To provide assurance of disinfection, hospitals, hotels, and other institutions are increasingly looking to ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection. The LightStrike Robot uses a patented Pulsed Xenon UV light system that produces UV across the entire germicidal spectrum (200-315 nm), deactivating the pathogens at the wavelengths where they are most susceptible. Research shows that the LightStrike Robot consistently and effectively deactivates pathogens left behind on high touch surfaces [9]. The LightStrike Robot uses Pulsed Xenon light to disinfect, which does not utilize mercury bulbs or chemicals to disinfect. Most importantly, the LightStrike Robot has been proven to deactivate SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19. To learn more about surfaces and UV disinfection watch our most recent webinar presented by Dr. Stibich: https://xenon.hubs.vidyard.com/watch/1prnmZhaCen74VYpTKRtyZ?

Autor: Deborah Passey, Ph.D

References

1. Chin AW, Chu JT, Perera MR, Hui KP, Yen HL, Chan MC, Peiris M, Poon LL. Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions. The Lancet Microbe. 2020 May;1(1):e10.
2. Cai J, Sun W, Huang J, Gamber M, Wu J, He G. Indirect Virus Transmission in Cluster of COVID-19 Cases, Wenzhou, China, 2020. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2020 Mar 12;26(6).
3. Julian TR, Leckie JO, Boehm AB. Virus transfer between fingerpads and fomites. Journal of applied microbiology. 2010 Dec;109(6):1868-74.
4. Riddell S, Goldie S, Hill A, Eagles D, Drew TW. The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces. Virology Journal. 2020 Dec;17(1):1-
5. Van Damme W, Dahake R, van de Pas R, Vanham G, Assefa Y. COVID-19: Does the infectious inoculum dose-response relationship contribute to understanding heterogeneity in disease severity and transmission dynamics?. Medical Hypotheses. 2020 Nov 25:110431.
6. Sattar SA, Maillard JY. The crucial role of wiping in decontamination of high-touch environmental surfaces: review of current status and directions for the future. American journal of infection control. 2013 May 1;41(5):S97-104.
7. Carling PC, Bartley JM. Evaluating hygienic cleaning in health care settings: what you do not know can harm your patients. American journal of infection control. 2010 Jun 1;38(5):S41-50.
8. Cobrado L, Silva-Dias A, Azevedo MM, Rodrigues AG. High-touch surfaces: microbial neighbours at hand. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. 2017 Nov 1;36(11):2053-62.
9. Stibich M, Simmons S, Passey D. 10 Years of Pulsed-Xenon Ultraviolet Disinfection. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 2020 Oct;41(S1):s438-.