The strong local electric fields generated when a plasma is ignited ionize the surrounding air and reactive oxygen is formed. In a confined volume, this reactive oxygen has an inactivating effect on viruses.
In a series of experiments conducted in cooperation with the Medical University of Graz, Diagnostic and Research Center for Molecular BioMedicine, the effect was proven. The investigation was concerned with the question of whether viruses on the surface of protective masks made of cotton, for example, or on an FFP3 mask can be inactivated by the method described. The experimental set-up of the investigations was designed as follows:
- preparation of the viral load;
- application of the viral load to the samples;
- determination of the active virus amount by PCR method**;
- placement of the samples into the treatment chamber;
- deactivation by reactive oxygen;
- collection of the samples and determination of the active virus amount by PCR method.
Replicates and positive and negative controls are used to verify the results. The results are shown in the following figure.
** PCR method is a duplication method for nucleic acids, which is based on the principle of the conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enables the quantification of the DNA obtained.