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Ozone vs. Coronavirus: Ozone’s Efficacy as a Virucidal Disinfectant

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Ozone vs. Coronavirus: Ozone’s Efficacy as a Virucidal Disinfectant

It's no secret in the cleaning and disaster recovery industry that ozone is extremely effective at removing odors through molecular oxidation. Less known is its effectiveness as a disinfectant, for which it has been used effectively in the medical sector for years. Ozone is a powerful gas that can be highly disinfected and can be very effective in killing pathogenic bacteria and fungi, as well as inactivating viruses. The focus of this paper is the use of ozone as a virucide, with an emphasis on the SARS-CoV-2, which, according to the International Committee on Taxonomy, is the correct name for what is commonly referred to as the COVID-19 coronavirus, and so it is referred to in this article.

What is a virus?

Referring to the National Institute of Health: “A virus is an infectious agent that resides near the boundary between living and non-living. It is a particle much smaller than a bacterial cell, consisting of a small genome of either DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein shell. Viruses enter host cells and hijack the enzymes and materials of the host cells to make more copies of themselves. Viruses cause a wide variety of diseases in plants and animals, including AIDS, measles, smallpox and polio ”, and of course the various strains of coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2.

They can enter the body through the nose, mouth or through skin breaks. Different viruses infect different types of cells based on the ability of the virus to both recognize the host cell type and successfully enter the cells. Once inside (infection), the virus genome is activated to produce the replication proteins needed to make new virus particles, and the cycle is repeated. For example, cold and flu viruses attack cells that line the respiratory or digestive tract. Norovirus, for example, enters the gastrointestinal tract. The cells of the lungs and bronchi are targets for SARS-CoV-2.

Viruses can remain active on surfaces for different times, depending on the virus, surface type and environment. Cold viruses can remain active on surfaces for up to a week, while flu viruses can survive for about 24 hours and the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains active for about 72 hours. It is during this time that the virus quietly attaches to surfaces, waiting to be ingested by a passing host, that restorers have a chance to intervene.

Let's get the facts straight about the correct language for destroying viruses before “putting them in the ring” with ozone. Depending on who you speak to, you will hear someone say they "kill the virus". Other common terms are deactivate and inactivate.

Which is correct?

As we have already discussed, viruses are not living organisms in the traditional sense - they are not made of cells, they cannot reproduce without entering a host cell, they do not respond to environmental stimuli, and they have no metabolism. Since a virus is not "alive" in the first place, it therefore cannot be "killed". References to killed virus in the medical literature refer to a technique in which viruses are chemically or mechanically inactivated so that they can be used in the production of vaccines or used in research without the possibility of causing an infection, or in our case to disinfect a surface or space. In this sense, we use the term "inactivate", where we use ozone to chemically treat a virus so that it cannot infect living cells.

How does ozone inactivate viruses?

To answer this question, I reached out to some of the most knowledgeable doctors on ozone and viruses in the country. Dr. Gérard Sunnen is a New York City physician specializing in the use of ozone in the medical field, from the very latest ozone therapy to the use of ozone as a disinfectant. According to Dr. Sunnen. “Ozone has unique disinfectant properties. As a gas, it has a penetration power that liquids do not have. Considering that SARS-CoV-2, MERS and previous SARS strains last up to several days on fomites (surfaces), it is recommended to apply ozone technology to the decontamination of medical and other environments ”.

Knowing that something works is not enough; let's see how ozone works in inactivating viruses. “Viruses are usually small, independent particles made up of crystals and macromolecules. Unlike bacteria, they only multiply in the host cell. Ozone destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, resulting in damage to the viral RNA. At higher concentrations, ozone destroys the capsid or the outside of the protein shell through oxidation ”, explains Dr. Sunnen out. Furthermore, “most research efforts on the virucidal effects of ozone have focused on ozone's tendency to degrade lipid molecules in sites with a multi-bond configuration. Indeed, once the virus's lipid envelope is fragmented, its DNA or RNA core cannot survive ”.

In my quest for further communication with experts in the field, I contacted a director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Paul Meechan PhD, MPH, RPB, CBSP, SM (NRCM). I asked his opinion about ozone as a virucide, especially with regard to SARS-CoV-2. He replied, “Will ozone work, you're sure! Ozone is very effective in inactivating viruses, especially enveloped viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2. Within seconds, ozone dissolves the virus's lipid membrane. Ozone will deactivate SARS-CoV-2, but you must know what you are doing.

How Much Ozone Does It Take To Be Effective?

Log reduction is a mathematical term used to express the relative number of live microbes or active viruses that are eliminated by disinfection and corresponds to inactivating 90% of a target microbe while reducing the number of microbes by a factor of 10. a reduction of 2 log gives a reduction of 99%, or a reduction of microbes by a factor of 100, and so on. The table below shows the graph of Log reduction.

Log Reduction Reduction Factor Percentage reduced

1 10 90%

2100 99%

3 1,000 99.9%

4 10,000 99.99%

5,100,000 99.999%

6 1,000,000 99.9999%

An easy way to remember this scale is that the number of nines is equal to the log reduction number. For example: 1 log = 90%, 3 logs = 99.9, 5 logs = 99.999, etc.

Depending on the target virus, the concentration and exposure time varies. Given the structure of SARS-CoV-2, and how similar viruses respond to ozone exposure, it is estimated that a concentration of as little as 1 ppm for a few seconds is sufficient to achieve disinfection of up to 4 logs. A good quality ozone generator should be able to reach this concentration within a short time without any problems.

The ozone level output is key; generators are rated based on the number of grams of ozone they generate per hour (g / hour). To test the time it takes to reach a concentration of 1 ppm, we used RamAir's OzoGen 16g, which has an output of 16 g / hr. Our laboratory consisted of a room of 1000 ft³, at 65 ° F and 14% RH (relative humidity). The generator reached 0.5 ppm in 15 seconds and 1 ppm in <2 minutes. As ozone generators convert environmental oxygen to ozone through molecular cleavage and fusion, the output rate decreases with increasing concentration, due to a continued depletion of available O2 molecules in the enclosure. Therefore, the peak ozone production is directly dependent on the power of the ozone generator, as lesser systems would fail at a lower ozone concentration. High power ozone generators also have the advantage of reaching effective concentrations more quickly, allowing for greater public utility and benefit.

David Hart, along with a select team of physicians and scientists, is leading a rigorous testing program to obtain accurate data on the inactivation of specific strains of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses by ozone, with respect to concentration and exposure times.

To summarize

Laboratory and field proven as a highly effective full spectrum virucide and antimicrobial that kills pathogenic bacteria and fungi, ozone offers many advantages over alternative methods of disinfection.

Being a gas, it has a penetrating power that liquids do not. An ozone generator never needs to be refilled with solutions and does not need to be operated manually; just set the timer and press the button. The machine goes to work to convert the oxygen in the ambient air into powerful, oxidizing ozone. You will return after the prescribed time and the disinfection is complete.

Reference: https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88901-ozones-efficacy-in-deactivating-coronavirus-like-pathogens

Based on Bluamec, we develop and manufacture devices that produce aqueous ozone – the simplest, safest, most sustainable way to clean and sanitize. Our mission is “reducing chemical pollution, improving quality of life”.



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