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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Oct;68(10):4951-5.

Mechanisms of inactivation of hepatitis a virus by chlorine.

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  • 1Institute of Health and Environmental Medicine of Tianjin, Tianjin City 300050, People's Republic of China.


The study was intended to investigate the feasibility of reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for evaluation of the efficacy of inactivation of viruses in water and to elucidate the mechanisms of inactivation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) by chlorine. Cell culture, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and long-overlap RT-PCR were used to detect the infectivity, antigenicity, and entire genome of HAV inactivated or destroyed by chlorine. The cell culture results revealed the complete inactivation of infectivity after 30 min of exposure to 10 or 20 mg of chlorine per liter and the highest level of sensitivity in the 5' nontranslated regions (5'NTR), inactivation of which took as much time as the inactivation of infectivity of HAV by chlorine. However, antigenicity was not completely destroyed under these conditions. Some fractions in the coding region were resistant to chlorine. To determine the specific region of the 5'NTR lost, three segments of primers were redesigned to monitor the region from bp 1 to 1023 across the entire genome. It was shown that the sequence from bp 1 to 671 was the region most sensitive to chlorine. The results suggested that the inactivation of HAV by chlorine was due to the loss of the 5'NTR. It is believed that PCR can be used to assess the efficacy of disinfection of HAV by chlorine as well as to research the mechanisms of inactivation of viruses by disinfectants.

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