Lucia Gonzales Strömberg
The project is expected to strengthen Swedish industry's competitiveness and innovation capacity, as well as society's preparedness in the areas of infection prevention and microbial diagnostics. This will be done by establishing, developing and exploring methodologies for quantifying viruses and mapping virucidal effects from hygiene and cleaning.
Pandemics and outbreaks of infectious diseases are significant threats to the economy and public health in Sweden and globally. In line with the Government's overall goal for COVID-19, both Swedish authorities and companies are working intensively to develop and verify effective products and preventive measures against SARS-CoV-2. The importance of effective action and products against the spread of infection and viruses also extends beyond the current pandemic, for example, Norovirus causes an estimated annual global social cost of $ 60.3 billion.
All in all, there are both acute and long-term needs for research and method development concerning effective infection control measures against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other disease-causing viruses and future pandemics. Specifically, there is a lack of capacity in Sweden and actors who can meet the industry's need for laboratory work with viruses and virus inactivation. In addition, data for virus inactivation are incomplete or completely missing, which makes risk assessment of virus inactivation very difficult to do reliably, which is needed when evaluating manufacturing processes and products such as biocides.
Both cellular and molecular quantitative methods will be applied in the project. Initially, standard methods for laboratory evaluation of virucidal effects (i.e. methods for measuring virus inactivation) should be established and adapted; both model viruses and pathogenic viruses should be used. In addition, methodology for detection and mapping of existing viruses shall be tested exploratively in environments where hygiene products are used. The established methodology must also be able to be used for the production of reliable and supplementary data regarding chemical and thermal inactivation of disease-causing viruses, thereby contributing to future risk assessments being safer and more accurate.
Overall, after the implementation of the project, there will be better capacity to meet Swedish industry's needs for studies of viruses and virucidal effects, which promotes the development of effective preventive measures, processes and products. In addition, knowledge about virus inactivation has been strengthened.
Methods for viruses & virucidal effects