Airborne Disinfection by Dry Fogging Efficiently Inactivates Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Mycobacteria, and Bacterial Spores and Shows Limitations of Commercial Spore Carriers
Airborne disinfection of high-containment facilities before maintenance or between animal studies is crucial. Commercial spore carriers (CSC) coated with 106 spores of Geobacillus stearothermophilus are often used to assess the efficacy of disinfection. We used quantitative carrier testing (QCT) procedures to compare the sensitivity of CSC with that of surrogates for nonenveloped and enveloped viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), mycobacteria, and spores, to an aerosolized mixture of peroxyacetic acid and hydrogen peroxide (aPAA-HP). We then used the QCT methodology to determine relevant process parameters to develop and validate effective disinfection protocols (≥4-log10 reduction) in various large and complex facilities. Our results demonstrate that aPAA-HP is a highly efficient procedure for airborne room disinfection. Relevant process parameters such as temperature and relative humidity can be wirelessly monitored. Furthermore, we found striking differences in inactivation efficacies against some of the tested microorganisms. Overall, we conclude that dry fogging a mixture of aPAA-HP is highly effective against a broad range of microorganisms as well as material compatible with relevant concentrations. Furthermore, CSC are artificial bioindicators with lower resistance and thus should not be used for validating airborne disinfection when microorganisms other than viruses have to be inactivated.