Virus - how to destroy

  • Thread starter Edgardo
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  • #1
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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.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
iansmith
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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.
 
  • #3
Moonbear
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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.
 
  • #4
Phobos
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iansmith said:
Heat will also kill/inactivate viruses.

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?
 
  • #5
Moonbear
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Phobos said:
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?

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.
 
  • #6
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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?
 
  • #7
Moonbear
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misskitty said:
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?

That's the sodium hypochlorite that iansmith mentioned.
 
  • #8
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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.
 
  • #9
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misskitty said:
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?

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.

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

When you mix ammonia and bleach, they react to form chloramine gas, which is very toxic.
 
  • #10
cronxeh
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Hmm which makes me wonder

Moonbear, how does one get access to work on BSL4?
 
  • #11
Phobos
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Moonbear said:
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.

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.
 
  • #12
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cronxeh said:
Hmm which makes me wonder

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

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.
 
  • #13
cronxeh
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eh.. easier to just get independent funding and do it in international waters
 
  • #14
matthyaouw
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cronxeh said:
eh.. easier to just get independent funding and do it in international waters

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.
 
  • #15
cronxeh
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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
 
  • #16
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Moonbear said:
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.

Oh! oooppss... :redface: Good thing you're patient with me. :smile: So where do they use Ammonia? Hospitals?

Moonbear said:
When you mix ammonia and bleach, they react to form chloramine gas, which is very toxic.

: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.
 
  • #17
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Phobos said:
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.

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.
 
  • #18
Moonbear
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misskitty said:
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.

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.
 
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  • #19
Moonbear
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matthyaouw said:
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.

:rofl: You're right, it would be a great "made for TV" movie! :rofl:
 
  • #20
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Moonbear said:
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.

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:
 
  • #21
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Moonbear said:
:rofl: You're right, it would be a great "made for TV" movie! :rofl:

It would be very funny and very cheesy. :biggrin:Velveeta Cheesy!! :rofl:
 
  • #22
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Moonbear, how high can an autoclave heat something? Are there restrictions on what you can place in it?
 
  • #23
matthyaouw
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Moonbear said:
:rofl: You're right, it would be a great "made for TV" movie! :rofl:

Perhaps this is why films are so bad nowadays; the film industry has too few creative masterminds, and way too many people like me. :rofl:
 
  • #24
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Unfortunately this is so true about the industry containing so few geniuses. Matt, I don't know you very well so I'm not going to even touch the second part of your post. :wink:
 
  • #25
iansmith
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misskitty said:
Moonbear, how high can an autoclave heat something? Are there restrictions on what you can place in it?

for most of the autoclaved used in lab, the temperature is 121°C at 15psi for liquid items and it can go up to 132°C at 30 psi for wrapped items.

You place anything (except thing that can blow up at high pressure/high temepreature) in an autoclaved but do not expect everything to be in good shape. For glass pyrex is needed because there a cold shock when you take the glass out. Also special plastic is required for autoclaving. It is king of funny to see a bunch petri dish all fused together.

Styrophome is goes through the coolest transformation when autoclaved. It shrinks and you hurt people with styrophome. (I know, I am a nerd)
 

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