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COVID-19 Long Lasting Disinfectants Webinar

COVID-19 Long Lasting Disinfectants: View the WebinarExit

Originally presented August 27, 2020.

Reducing the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 relies on effective cleaning and disinfection, along with continued social distancing practices. EPA researchers are evaluating microbial disinfectants and application methods for surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by multiple people.

Areas with surfaces that are frequently touched by many different people can pose a risk to public health because of the significant challenge of continuous cleaning and disinfection.

Recognizing a real need for more information to reduce potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on these kinds of surfaces, researchers are evaluating a number of commercially available products for potential long-lasting effectiveness against the virus. Currently, EPA-registered products with long-lasting effectiveness claims are mostly limited to those that control odor-causing bacteria on hard, non-porous surfaces; there are no EPA registered products with public health claims that provide long-lasting (e.g., weeks to months) disinfection against a virus. The benefits of having a longer-lasting antimicrobial product are important, especially when cleaning and disinfecting a surface or object cannot be accomplished every time someone new touches it.

The assessment process used by EPA researchers will help determine whether these products can continue to effectively kill viruses on surfaces over time and how durable the product is with normal use, including routine cleaning, and natural weathering.

EPA research on Longer-Term SARS-CoV-2 Disinfection Evaluation

EPA research on COVID-19 in the Environment

Presenter Biographies

Gregory Sayles is the Director of the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response in ORD and the lead for EPA research efforts on SARS-CoV-2. Greg has 30 years of experience at EPA, starting as a research chemical engineer supporting the Agency’s clean up program by developing approaches to remediate contaminated soils and sediments. He built a highly successful government (EPA, DOE, DOD)-industry (DuPont, GE, Monsanto) partnership to develop cleanup approaches for chlorinated solvents. Greg later served in various ORD leadership positions associated with drinking water, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemical research programs. In addition, he led the development of the 2008 and 2011 research plans for EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program.

Shawn P. Ryan is the Director of the Homeland Security & Materials Management Division in ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. In addition, Shawn is the National Program Director for EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program. Shawn has over 19 years of experience at EPA, including 16 years leading research to support EPA’s Homeland Security mission. He has initiated and led several large-scale interagency projects that have made significant advances in Homeland Security and served as models of partnership. His research focuses on biological and chemical agent-related decontamination. 

Worth Calfee is a research microbiologist with the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response in ORD. He has over 20 years of research experience, with 10 years at EPA. His research foci include sample collection, sample analysis, decontamination, and management of wastes following biological contamination incidents. Worth received his Ph.D. in 2007 from East Carolina University, where he studied coastal and estuarine microbial communities. He also earned a B.S. in molecular biology from East Carolina University in 1999.

Kristen Willis is the branch chief of the Product Science Branch in the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs Antimicrobials Division. She joined the EPA in 2016 as a senior scientist after serving as research microbiologist with Defense Threat Reduction Agency from 2013-2016. Kristen was a National Research Council Post-doctoral fellow from 2010-2013. Kristen received her B.S. in microbiology from Cornell University in 2003 and her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2010. Her graduate work focused on vaccinia virus, a close relative of smallpox virus.