Heat efficiently inactivates coronaviruses inside vehicles


Heat is an established method to inactivate coronaviruses, and there is utility in using heat to reduce viral load on common touch points in vehicles exposed to a person shedding SARS-CoV-2. As SARS-CoV-2 is a Biosafety level (BSL)-3 pathogen, real-world testing of heat as a sanitation method for public and private vehicles becomes a challenge, requiring a surrogate coronavirus that can be handled safely outside of a BSL-3 facility. In this study, we used Bovine Coronavirus (BCoV) as a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 to test the efficacy of heat-based betacoronavirus inactivation. In vitro, a 30-minute exposure to 56°C completely inactivated BCoV in solution, and a 15-minute exposure reduced recovery of BCoV >1000-fold. When heated to 56°C for 15 minutes, the infectivity of BCoV spotted and dried on typical porous and non-porous automobile interior materials was reduced by 99 – 99.99%. When BCoV was spotted and dried on hard plastic (seat) material placed inside an out of service transit bus, 56°C heat for 30 minutes reduced BCoV infectivity 85 – 99.5%. Thus, 56°C is an accessible, rapid, and effective method to inactivate coronaviruses inside motor vehicles.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

Heat efficiently inactivates coronaviruses inside vehicles
Krithika P Karthigeyan, Chloe Flanigan, Denis Jacob Machado, Alper A Kiziltas, Dan A Janies, Jay Chen, David Cooke, Marcia V Lee, Linda J Saif, Sonny Henegar, Jeff Jahnes, Deborah F Mielewski, Jesse J Kwiek
bioRxiv 2021.09.08.459486; doi:
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