Determination of the characteristic inactivation fluence for SARS-CoV-2 under UV-C radiation considering light absorption in culture media

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The optical absorption coefficient of culture media is critical for the survival analysis of pathogens under optical irradiation. The quality of the results obtained from experiments relies on the optical analysis of the spatial distribution of fluence which also depends on the geometry of the sample. In this contribution, we consider both the geometrical shape and the culture medium’s absorptivity to evaluate how the spatial distribution of optical radiation affects pathogens/viruses. In this work, we exposed SARS-CoV-2 to UV-C radiation (λ =254 nm) and we calculated – considering the influence of the optical absorption of the culture medium – a characteristic inactivation fluence of F i =4.7 J/m2 , or an equivalent 10% survival (D90 dose) of 10.8 J/m2. Experimentally, we diluted the virus into sessile drops of Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium to evaluate pathogen activity after controlled doses of UV irradiation. To validate the optical absorption mode, we carried out an additional experiment where we varied droplet size. Our model – including optical absorption and geometrical considerations – provides robust results among a variety of experimental situations, and represents our experimental conditions more accurately. These results will help to evaluate the capability of UV disinfecting strategies applied to a variety of everyday situations, including the case of micro-droplets generated by respiratory functions.