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Evaluation of the relative potential for contact and doffing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by a range of personal protective equipment materials

Xue, Xuan; Coleman, Christopher M.; Duncan, Joshua D.; Hook, Andrew L.; Ball, Jonathan K.; Alexander, Cameron; Alexander, Morgan R.

Evaluation of the relative potential for contact and doffing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by a range of personal protective equipment materials Thumbnail


Xuan Xue

Christopher M. Coleman

Assistant Professor

Professor of Molecular Virology

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Professor of Biomedical Surfaces


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—has caused a global public health emergency. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the primary defence against viral exposure in healthcare and community settings. However, the surfaces of PPE materials may trap virus for contact transmission or through laden aerosols generated during removal of PPE, through cleaning or during movement. In this study, the relative efficacy of current PPE materials in terms of virion adsorption to materials and their antiviral potency, has been evaluated on a wide range of PPE for the first time, including four polymer glove types, two types of scrubs, apron material, a mask, visor and a selection of other commercial polymers and products. Although differences in virion adsorption to the test materials were observed, none of the existing polymer-based PPE resulted in more than tenfold reduction in the SARS-CoV-2 titre within either 10min or 30min contact period. The wettability and surface chemistry of the test materials were analysed to investigate any correlations with their surface physicochemical properties. While no correlation was found between wettability and viral retention under air flow challenge, one secondary ion of m/z 101.03 (+) and three secondary ions of m/z 31.98 (−), 196.93 (−) and 394.33 (+) in ToF–SIMS data of the test materials showed positive and negative correlations with the viral retention, respectively, which was identified by PLS regression model, suggesting that the surface chemistry plays a role in determining the extent of virion adsorption. Our findings outline the material aspects that influence the efficacy of current PPE against SARS-CoV-2 transmission and give suggestions on the development of novel simple polymer-based PPE for better infection protection.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 5, 2022
Publication Date Oct 5, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 13, 2022
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Article Number 16654
Keywords Multidisciplinary
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