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Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 1998 Nov-Dec;56(6):693-703.

[Virus resistance in a hospital environment: overview of the virucide activity of disinfectants used in liquid form].

[Article in French]

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Unité d'hygiène hospitalière et de santé publique, CHU Grenoble.


Human pathogenic viruses can be detected in the hospital environment, on contaminated surfaces or medical instruments. Their transmission to patients or staff has already been reported. Lipophilic viruses (HIV, HBV, HCV,...) are susceptible to many liquid chemicals, but they can survive during short time on inadequately disinfected surfaces. Hydrophilic viruses, without envelope, are more resistant, but generally not associated with severe illnesses. Viruses survival in environment depends on many factors and is always improved with viral aggregation and low temperature, whereas organic matters and relative humidity effects are contrasted. The mechanism of virucide disinfectants is not yet well established, and their targets are not known with precision. Different disinfection procedures (disinfectant concentration, contact time, temperature, pH) can provide a similar virucidal activity on a given virus. The virucidal activity of a disinfectant is evaluated with a cell culture assay in Afnor guidelines. But, there are three major problems with this method, concerning need of high viruses titers, residual disinfectant cytotoxicity on cell culture, and non cultivable viruses. Non standardized tests are also described in papers, but their results can generally not be compared. Molecular biology improvements may lead to reproducible and sensitive tests. At present, no general disinfection procedure effective for most of the viruses, without risks for staff or materials, and with an acceptable economic cost can be recommended.

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