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Inactivation of viruses

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Viruses are infectious particles composed of nucleic acids and proteins that depend on cells for energy. Viruses invade cells where they proliferate, resulting in disease. Sterilization, disinfection, and antisepsis are important for preventing diseases derived from pathogens such as viruses. The disinfectants used for viruses are mostly chemicals including alcohols like ethanol and isopropanol. Alcohols are effective against enveloped viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and influenza virus but not small non-enveloped viruses such as parvovirus and poliovirus. To develop methods of sterilization, confirmation of results using appropriate samples is necessary. Towards this goal, several physical methods have recently been developed to facilitate sterilization; including the use of pulsed light, supercritical fluids, pulsed electric fields, and gas plasma. Although most of these methods have not been widely adopted, further increases in reliability, convenience, and suitability should contribute to the spread of their applicability. In this review, we describe viruses, conventional means of disinfection, trends in the development of new methods of sterilization and potential applications of these methods.
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