HOCl Rapidly Kills Corona, Flu, and Herpes to Prevent Aerosol Spread

H. Guan, M. Nuth, S. R. Weiss, A. Fausto, Y. Liu, H. Koo, M. S. Wolff, R. P. Ricciardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the dental practice, especially as droplet-aerosol particles are generated by high-speed instruments. This has heightened awareness of other orally transmitted viruses, including influenza and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), which are capable of threatening life and impairing health. While current disinfection procedures commonly use surface wipe-downs to reduce viral transmission, they are not fully effective. Consequently, this provides the opportunity for a spectrum of emitted viruses to reside airborne for hours and upon surfaces for days. The objective of this study was to develop an experimental platform to identify a safe and effective virucide with the ability to rapidly destroy oral viruses transported within droplets and aerosols. Our test method employed mixing viruses and virucides in a fine-mist bottle atomizer to mimic the generation of oral droplet-aerosols. The results revealed that human betacoronavirus OC43 (related to SARS-CoV-2), human influenza virus (H1N1), and HSV1 from atomizer-produced droplet-aerosols were each fully destroyed by only 100 ppm of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) within 30 s, which was the shortest time point of exposure to the virucide. Importantly, 100 ppm HOCl introduced into the oral cavity is known to be safe for humans. In conclusion, this frontline approach establishes the potential of using 100 ppm HOCl in waterlines to continuously irrigate the oral cavity during dental procedures to expeditiously destroy harmful viruses transmitted within aerosols and droplets to protect practitioners, staff, and other patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1037
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • high-speed instruments
  • infection
  • prevention
  • saliva
  • virucide
  • waterlines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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