The Specific Aim of this proposal is to test the efficacy of Light-Activated Anti-Microbial fabrics to biologically inactivate three model pathogens, influenza H1N1 swine, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and cowpox virus (as a surrogate for variola virus). These viruses are pathogenic to humans and spread rapidly from infected to uninfected individuals. The World Health Organization estimates that influenza epidemics cost the US economy $71-167 billion per year and that 250,000-500,000 people die every year from influenza. RSV poses a severe and continual health risk to children and the elderly, especially in a hospital setting. Variola virus, although eradicated in the general population since 1977, still poses a deadly threat as a bioterrorism agent. Prevention of the spread of infectious viruses is largely accomplished through isolation of infected patients away from the general population. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirator masks and gloves, is currently the most effective way that health care workers can protect themselves. However standard contaminated PPE also can serve as effective modes of microorganism transmission when worn by health care workers treating multiple patients. Using a proprietary technology, LaamScience has developed coatings for a durable, self-decontaminating, and cost-effective N95 respirator mask that inactivate a broad spectrum of enveloped viruses and bacteria. The coating contains a Light-Activated Anti-Microbial (LAAM) dye that emits a reactive oxygen species, singlet oxygen, when exposed to light. Singlet oxygen is highly effective at inactivating viruses and killing bacteria. We have shown efficacy against influenza virus strains as well as staphylococci under normal room light conditions, with inactivation measured in minutes rather than the hours required with traditional antimicrobial agents. The proposed Phase I work will address the potential of the LaamScience coated fabric to inactivate Influenza, RSV and cowpox virus, as evidence to support the use of coated masks in healthcare settings, and more generally in the event of the release of a bioterrorism agent. The milestones of this work are to demonstrate the ability of the anti-microbial to inactivate cowpox virus (as a model for smallpox), Influenza H1N1 swine, and RSV. We will confirm that the virus inactivation is irreversible and occurs in a practical window of time under indoor lighting conditions. Accomplishment of these milestones will allow testing of real-world applications of the fabric coating against these viruses as well as against additional pathogens, which will be the goal of the Phase II studies.
Project Narrative - Public Health Relevance The World Health Organization estimates that influenza epidemics cost the US economy $71-167 billion per year and that 250,000-500,000 people die every year from influenza. Groups most at risk are health care workers, patients, young people, and the geriatric population. In closed settings, (e.g., hospitals, child-care centers, military barracks, college dormitories, nursing homes) infections spread rapidly. Viral threats also include intentional spreading of deadly viruses, such as smallpox, as bioterrorism agents. Thus, new, multiple measures are needed to decrease infection rates and protect against bioterrorism threats. The LaamScience fabric coating will serve as a decontamination agent on personal protective equipment such as respirator masks and will reduce the danger of transmission of pathogenic agents between individuals.