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NEA's Technical Guidance on the Testing of Self-Disinfecting Surface Coatings against SARS-CoV-2

Coronavirus under microscope. Source: Public Radio Tulsa

Test Organism

There is currently no consensus internationally for the reference test organisms used for supporting claims against SARS-CoV-2. However, human coronavirus 229E has been most recommended by many international agencies.

ASTM guidance reflects that human coronavirus 229E has emerged as the top recommendation;

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia recognises the use of human coronavirus 229E and murine hepatitis virus (MHV; a murine coronavirus);

US-EPA indicates that the use of “another type of human coronavirus” similar to SARS-CoV-2 is requested, and addresses that the use of animal coronaviruses is not supported.

Health Canada suggests that an indirect claim against SARS-CoV-2 can be allowed if the test was carried out against a specific coronavirus such as human coronavirus 229E, MERS-CoV, or SARS-CoV.

As much as possible, for claims against SARS-CoV-2, we recommend the use of human coronavirus 229E as a surrogate if SARS-CoV-1 or SARS-CoV-2 is not available for use.

However, because of the lower yield of human coronavirus 229E in the laboratory setting, it may be challenging to obtain adequate viral titer for control carriers.

For such scenarios, murine hepatitis virus (MHV) could be used as a surrogate, as viral titers tend to be higher than 229E. This pathogen is also recognised by the TGA, Australia.


  1. NEA. (2021, February 10). Technical Guidance on the Testing of Self-Disinfecting Surface Coatings against SARS-CoV-2. National Environment Agency.

  2. Trotter, M. (2020, September 29). Tulsa County Sees Its Most New COVID-19 Cases in Almost 6 Weeks as State Adds Another 1,025. Public Radio Tulsa.

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