MS2 Coliphage as a Surrogate for 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus (pH1N1) in Surface Survival Studies on N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators
Coulliette, A.D., K.A. Perry, E.M. Fisher, J.R. Edwards, R.E. Shaffer, and J. Noble-Wang
Research on influenza viruses regarding transmission and survival has surged in the recent years due to infectious emerging strains and outbreaks such as the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. MS2 coliphage has been applied as a surrogate for pathogenic respiratory viruses, such as influenza, as it’s safe for personnel to handle and requires less time and labor to measure virus infectivity. However, direct comparisons to determine the effectiveness of coliphage as a surrogate for influenza virus regarding droplet persistence on personal protective equipment such as N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are lacking. Persistence of viral droplets deposited on FFRs in healthcare settings is important to discern due to the potential risk of infection via indirect fomite transmission. The objective of this study was to determine if MS2 coliphage could be applied as a surrogate for influenza A viruses for studying persistence when applied to the FFRs as a droplet. The persistence of MS2 coliphage and 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus on FFR coupons in different matrices (viral media, 2% fetal bovine serum, and 5 mg ml-1 mucin) were compared over time (4, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 144 hours) in typical absolute humidity conditions (4.1 x 105 mPa [18°C/20% relative humidity (RH)]). Data revealed significant differences in viral infectivity over the 6-day period (H1N1- P <0.0001; MS2 - P <0.005), although a significant correlation of viral log10 reduction in 2% FBS (P <0.01) was illustrated. Overall, MS2 coliphage was not determined to be a sufficient surrogate for influenza A virus with respect to droplet persistence when applied to the N95 FFR as a droplet.
Keywords: Pandemic influenza A virus, H1N1, MS2 coliphage, infectivity, surrogate, respirator.