The goal of this study was to explore various models for describing viral persistence (infectivity) on fomites and identify the best fit models.
Methods and Results
The persistence of poliovirus over time was studied on three different fomite materials: steel, cotton and plastic. Known concentrations of poliovirus type 1 were applied to the surface coupons in an indoor environment for various lengths of time. Viruses were recovered from the surfaces by vortexing in phosphate buffer. Seven different mathematical models of relative persistence over time were fit to the data, and the preferred model for each surface was selected based on the Bayesian information criterion.
While the preferred model varied by fomite type, the virus showed a rapid initial decay on all of the fomite types, followed by a transition to a more gradual decay after about 48 days. Estimates of the time for 99% reduction ranged from 81 h for plastic to 143 h for cotton. A 6 log reduction of recoverable infectivity of poliovirus did not occur during the 3‐week duration of the experiment for any of the fomites.
Significance and Impact of the Study
In protected indoor environments poliovirus can remain infective for weeks. The models identified by this study can be used in risk assessments to identify appropriate strategies for managing this risk.