Department Environmental Microbiology

Virus transfer at the skin/liquid interface

The magnitude of, and factors that influence, skin/liquid virus transfer is directly related to infection risks in a number of settings. Examples include: collection of human and animal waste; contact with surface waters, stormwater run-off, and sewerage; contamination of stored drinking water; hand hygiene; zoonotic infections; and hospital-acquired infections. In this study, we will investigate virus transfer between human hands and liquid solutions using three complementary systems of increasing complexity: a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D), human hands, and an intermediate artificial human hand model. The findings will be integral to improving microbial risk assessments for interactions with virus-contaminated liquids. We are planning to demonstrate the utility of virus transfer data in a case study of urine collection and processing in Durban, South Africa.