Virus - how to destroy

  1. So some labs got that deadly virus:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4440541.stm

    My question: how do the labs destroy the virus? I mean, if I had that container with the virus, I really didnt know how to treat it.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    P.S. I accidentally posted in the wrong forum. I wanted to post it in the biology section.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It will depend on the virus type (enveloped or not, RNA vs DNA) and the environment surrounding the virus.

    Viricidal agent includes 70% ethanol, isopropanole, iodine, chlorine such as javex solution, Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium compound (QAC). Heat will also kill/inactivate viruses.
     
  4. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Fortunately, the labs that received that virus are all virology labs, so know how to handle it safely and how to kill it. What concerns me more is that the company making the test kits didn't know what it was they were sending out (especially since it's a local company)! They claimed to have chosen it from among a library of viruses they acquired from another company, or something like that.
     
  5. Phobos

    Phobos 2,020
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Good ol' autoclave (high temperature and pressure) is what I used back in my lab days…but I was only working with a benign virus (bacteriophage). Is the chemical virucide preferred for more dangerous virus strains?
     
  6. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I worked recently (a few years ago) with a viral vector that was considered BSL2. I had to do both: use a chemical virucide while actively working with the virus and to disinfect all surfaces during and after use (I wasn't supposed to be spreading it anywhere, but that was done as a precaution just in case there was an accidental splash or some such thing), and to disinfect all my instruments, needles, syringes, gloves, etc., and then to take everything and autoclave it before final disposal. I think autoclaving was considered the best method, but the chemical virucide was used to treat everything before being taken to an autoclave, I guess in case an autoclave bag tore or something got dropped.
     
  7. I'm glad to know they were able to properly dispose of the virus. Then again they are professionals. Doesn't bleach act as a chemical virucide as well?
     
  8. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's the sodium hypochlorite that iansmith mentioned.
     
  9. Ah, I'm not wickedly familiar with the chemical names of things. This is going to sound stupid, but does pneumonia (did I spell it right? its one of those funky difficult to phenetically spell) act as a chemical virucide as well?

    Sidenote: why can't you mix bleach and pneumonia? No one has ever explained that and I'm just curious to know why.
     
  10. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ammonia. Pneumonia is the illness. :wink: As far as I know, plain ammonia isn't very effective at killing viruses. It's more of a antibacterial agent than a virucide. The quaternary ammonium compounds add an organic compound to ammonia that makes it more effective at killing some viruses.

    When you mix ammonia and bleach, they react to form chloramine gas, which is very toxic.
     
  11. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,232
    Gold Member

    Hmm which makes me wonder

    Moonbear, how does one get access to work on BSL4?
     
  12. Phobos

    Phobos 2,020
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    FWIW, some drinking water treatment facilities use ammonia in their disinfection process. They mix ammonia and chlorine (in a process called “chloramination”) which results in a stable residual which is good for maintaining some disinfection through the piped distribution system once the water leaves the facility. Chloramination also produces fewer by-products than chlorination. But it just doesn’t have the disinfection power that chlorine has. So, it’s better for facilities that have the advantage of a cleaner source water.
     
  13. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have never even looked into it. I imagine it begins with gobs of money to be able to afford all the safety equipment needed. Then if you are still motivated to work on it after you see the price tag, I suppose they'll bury you in paperwork for a while. You're going to have to prove you know what you're doing with it; in other words, somebody has to have previous experience who will supervise everything. I imagine there'd be a number of inspections, both before starting to show you're set up properly to work with it, as well as ongoing on a regular basis. Oh, and of course they'll make you sit through endless mandatory training classes. I'm not even sure if you are allowed to set up an independent lab to work with BSL4 bugs. You might have to do your work at an approved government facility.
     
  14. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,232
    Gold Member

    eh.. easier to just get independent funding and do it in international waters
     
  15. matthyaouw

    matthyaouw 1,216
    Gold Member

    I can picture it now.
    -scientist works on sample on boat
    -large wave rocks boat
    -oh whoops, I just injected a large quantity into my own arm.

    Such a situation is almost worthy of an awful film in which the scientist and his crew have 24 hours to get to land where an appropriate antiviral drug can be obtained, all the while being chased by the military who think it would be more appropriate to torpedo the boat to avoid the risk of worldwide outbreak.
     
  16. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,232
    Gold Member

    actually i got that idea from some guy who proposed doing cloning in international waters on a ship. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1477698.stm ). if you think about it, logically, a boat is in perfect isolation and containment - im not sure how well ebola would survive in open waters, perhaps through the fish? but then again, the host dies out pretty fast
     
  17. Oh! oooppss... :redface: Good thing you're patient with me. :smile: So where do they use Ammonia? Hospitals?

    :yuck: I'll be sure not to mix them and have plenty of windows wide open. Is the mixture flammible? Is it so flammible that if you just lit a match it would ignite the fumes? I know bleach is highly flammible, but like I said, I'm not to familiar with Ammonia.
     
  18. Phobos, do you mean that everytime I drink water in the city I'm ingesting small amounts of ammonia? :surprised That wouldn't be good.
     
  19. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    More likely small amounts of chlorine. Ever notice that someplaces the water comes out of the tap still smelling chlorinated, like a swimming pool? There's an old thread around somewhere about water treatment. I think it started off a little alarmist, but then settled down and there was a lot we all learned from it.

    Hospitals tend to use disinfecting agents that aren't quite as irritating as bleach and ammonia (both straight bleach and ammonia are VERY irritating to skin and lungs, so you really want to work with them in well-ventilated areas even if you're not mixing them). I'm not sure which they choose though. I think the industrial strength version of Lysol might be one (nothing like the stuff you use as a household spray, it doesn't even smell the same :yuck: Though I'm not sure which I think smells worse.). Oh...I'm assuming you mean for disinfecting surfaces, floors, bathrooms, stuff like that. For sterilizing instruments, they use either an autoclave (high pressure and high heat, like a pressure cooker) or a gas sterilization method for things that would be damaged in an autoclave, or use single-use items that have been sterilized by the manufacturer and shipped in sealed packages. All of those items will have double packaging, an outer "dirty" package, and an inner "sterile" package before you get to the sterile item inside.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2005
  20. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    :rofl: You're right, it would be a great "made for TV" movie! :rofl:
     
  21. Lysol smells gross!!! :yuck:Gives me a migraine everytime someone uses it. :grumpy:

    That part about the water is gross. I have noticed how someplaces have tap that smells that way and I always wondered why. :uhh: Best not to trust it and to drink bottled if it smells funny :wink:

    Sterile double packing...a germaphobe's dream. :rolleyes:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook