Reviewed by LaToya A. Forrester MPH, CIC, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Studies documenting the ability of nonenveloped viruses to transfer from fomites/surfaces to finger pads are well established, however not much data exists on the transfer characteristics of enveloped viruses. This study utilized coronavirus 229E an envelope virus to model fomite to hands transmissibility. Five different fomite/surface types were chosen (Stainless steel, Glass, glazed porcelain, Laminate, Formica) to be inoculated with 1µl coronavirus 229E. Transfer from surfaces to fingers consists of 6 transfer events using the index, middle and ring fingers of both hands for each surface type. Contaminated fingers were initially swab but it was then decided to rotate the hands in minimal essential medium (MEM) with antibiotics for greater yield. The highest number of viruses transferred from glazed porcelain and lowest from stainless steel to hands. Potential explanations of the results include characteristics of the fomites selected such as each unique microscopic smoothness, hydrophobicity, and electrostatic properties.
Gerba, C., Leija, B., Ikner, L., Gundy, P., & Rutala, W. (2023). Transfer efficiency of an enveloped virus, human coronavirus 229E, from various hard surface fomites to finger pads of the hands. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology,44(2), 335-337. doi:10.1017/ice.2021.428