Survival of the enveloped bacteriophage Phi6 (a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2) in evaporated saliva microdroplets deposited on glass surfaces

Aliza Fedorenko, Maor Grinberg, Tomer Orevi, Nadav Kashtan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations

Abstract

Survival of respiratory viral pathogens in expelled saliva microdroplets is central to their transmission, yet the factors that determine survival in such microdroplets are not well understood. Here we combine microscopy imaging with virus viability assays to study survival of three bacteriophages suggested as good models for respiratory pathogens: the enveloped Phi6 (a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2), and the non-enveloped PhiX174 and MS2. We measured virus viability in human saliva microdroplets, SM buffer, and water following deposition on glass surfaces at various relative humidities (RH). Saliva and water microdroplets dried out rapidly, within minutes, at all tested RH levels (23%, 43%, 57%, and 78%), while SM microdroplets remained hydrated at RH ≥ 57%. Generally, the survival of all three viruses in dry saliva microdroplets was significantly greater than those in SM buffer and water under all RH (except PhiX174 in water under 57% RH survived the best among 3 media). Thus, atmosphere RH and microdroplet hydration state are not sufficient to explain virus survival, indicating that the virus-suspended medium, and association with saliva components in particular, likely play a role in virus survival. Uncovering the exact properties and components that make saliva a favorable environment for the survival of viruses, in particular enveloped ones like Phi6, is thus of great importance for reducing transmission of viral respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number22419
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Survival of the enveloped bacteriophage Phi6 (a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2) in evaporated saliva microdroplets deposited on glass surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this