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Hands with microorganisms

Whole genome sequencing for studies of viruses as part of the hand mic

The interaction between different viruses and microorganisms on the skin is complex as the microbiota is built up and maintained. Hygiene products should be designed so that pathogenic microorganisms are removed without affecting the microbiota. PCR and sequencing were used to map viruses and microorganisms on hands, surfaces and soft materials.


It has long been known that the human body is colonized by a diversified microbiota consisting of bacteria, archaea and fungi. It has only recently been noticed that viruses are also included in this microbiota, which is very important for our health. Published studies also show that certain physiological effects previously attributed to colonizing bacteria instead stem directly from replicating viruses.

All in all, there seems to be a complex interplay between different viruses and the microorganisms on our skin in the construction and maintenance of our microbiota, which in turn plays a crucial role in both good health and disease. Therefore, hygiene products for professional and private use should be designed so that pathogenic viruses, bacteria and fungi are eliminated while the impact on the composition of the microbiota is limited.


The use of quantitative PCR and large-scale sequencing over the past ten years has revolutionized our understanding of both individual pathogenic bacteria and the communities of microorganisms in which they are included. The degree of innovation in this area has been high and the knowledge and technology that has been developed is now used successfully in both the pharmaceutical and food industries. In comparison with bacteriology, the development of our understanding of viruses and how they interact with our body has been more modest during the same time period. However, as a result of a number of major investments and recent technical innovations, the development and degree of innovation in virology is forecast to increase sharply in the coming years.


The primary objective of the project was to develop and adapt PCR technology and whole genome sequencing for mapping and quantification of viruses and microorganisms on hands, surfaces and soft materials. In addition, the total microbiota on the hands was mapped and quantified before and after application of two different hand wash / disinfection methods on subjects.


Project name

Sequencing of viruses in hand microbiota



RISE role in project

Project manager

Project start




Bo Rydins stiftelse för vetenskaplig forskning

Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

3. Good health and well-being
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
Charlotta Löfström

Contact person

Charlotta Löfström


+46 10 516 67 30

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