Objectives: Little to nothing is known about human papillomavirus (HPV) susceptibility to disinfection. HPV is estimated to be among the most common sexually transmitted diseases in humans. HPV is also the causative agent of cervical cancers and other anogenital cancers and is responsible for a significant portion of oropharyngeal cancers. While sexual transmission is well documented, vertical and non-sexual transmission may also be important.
Results: HPV16 is a highly resistant virus; more so than other non-enveloped viruses previously tested. The HPV16 quasivirions showed similar resistance to native virions, except for being susceptible to isopropanol, the triple phenolic and the lower concentration peracetic acid-silver (PAA-silver)-based disinfectant. Authentic virus and quasivirus were resistant to glutaraldehyde and ortho-phthalaldehyde and susceptible to hypochlorite and the higher concentration PAA-silver-based disinfectant.
Conclusions We present the first disinfectant susceptibility data on HPV16 native virions, which show that commonly used clinical disinfectants, including those used as sterilants in medical and dental healthcare facilities, have no effect on HPV16 infectivity. Policy changes concerning disinfectant use are needed. The unusually high resistance of HPV16 to disinfection supports other data suggesting the possibility of fomite or non-sexual transmission of HPV16.
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