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Citation: Zihao Wang, Zhentao Liang, Rongguo Wei, Hongwei Wang, Fang Cheng, Yang Liu, Songdong Meng. Quantitative determination of the electron beam radiation dose for SARS-CoV-2 inactivation to decontaminate frozen food packaging [J].VIROLOGICA SINICA, 2022, 37(6) : 823-830.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virs.2022.10.007

Quantitative determination of the electron beam radiation dose for SARS-CoV-2 inactivation to decontaminate frozen food packaging

  • Corresponding author: Songdong Meng, mengsd@im.ac.cn
  • Received Date: 01 July 2022
    Accepted Date: 21 October 2022
    Available online: 26 October 2022
  • The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from cold-chain foods to frontline workers poses a serious public health threat during the current global pandemic. There is an urgent need to design concise approaches for effective virus inactivation under different physicochemical conditions to reduce the risk of contagion through viral contaminated surfaces of cold-chain foods. By employing a time course of electron beam exposure to a high titer of SARS-CoV-2 at cold-chain temperatures, a radiation dose of 2 kGy was demonstrated to reduce the viral titer from 104.5 to 0 median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50)/mL. Next, using human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) as a suitable SARS-CoV-2 surrogate, 3 kGy of high-energy electron radiation was defined as the inactivation dose for a titer reduction of more than 4 log units on tested packaging materials. Furthermore, quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to test three viral genes, namely, E, N, and ORF1ab. There was a strong correlation between TCID50 and RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV-2 detection. However, RT-qPCR could not differentiate between the infectivity of the radiation-inactivated and nonirradiated control viruses. As the defined radiation dose for effective viral inactivation fell far below the upper safe dose limit for food processing, our results provide a basis for designing radiation-based approaches for the decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 in frozen food products. We further demonstrate that cell-based virus assays are essential to evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 inactivation efficiency for the decontaminating strategies.

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    Quantitative determination of the electron beam radiation dose for SARS-CoV-2 inactivation to decontaminate frozen food packaging

      Corresponding author: Songdong Meng, mengsd@im.ac.cn
    • a Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China;
    • b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China;
    • c Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530022, China;
    • d China Isotope and Radiaton Corporation, Beijing, 100089, China;
    • e Changchun CNNC CIRC Radiation Technology Co., LTD, Changchun, 130022, China

    Abstract: The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from cold-chain foods to frontline workers poses a serious public health threat during the current global pandemic. There is an urgent need to design concise approaches for effective virus inactivation under different physicochemical conditions to reduce the risk of contagion through viral contaminated surfaces of cold-chain foods. By employing a time course of electron beam exposure to a high titer of SARS-CoV-2 at cold-chain temperatures, a radiation dose of 2 kGy was demonstrated to reduce the viral titer from 104.5 to 0 median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50)/mL. Next, using human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) as a suitable SARS-CoV-2 surrogate, 3 kGy of high-energy electron radiation was defined as the inactivation dose for a titer reduction of more than 4 log units on tested packaging materials. Furthermore, quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to test three viral genes, namely, E, N, and ORF1ab. There was a strong correlation between TCID50 and RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV-2 detection. However, RT-qPCR could not differentiate between the infectivity of the radiation-inactivated and nonirradiated control viruses. As the defined radiation dose for effective viral inactivation fell far below the upper safe dose limit for food processing, our results provide a basis for designing radiation-based approaches for the decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 in frozen food products. We further demonstrate that cell-based virus assays are essential to evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 inactivation efficiency for the decontaminating strategies.

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