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New products: higher fibre, fewer calories From May 2020

Coronavirus work

In response to the current pandemic, our virologist Martin D’Agostino and his team are developing methods to help the food industry control SARS-CoV-2 and detect its presence in a working environment.

Quickly assessing SARS-CoV-2-effective sanitisers

Public Health England recommends a minimum 60% alcohol content for sanitisers to ensure effectiveness against coronavirus. Other active ingredients are known to destroy viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2, but the current methods used to assess a sanitiser’s efficacy are complicated as they test a wide range of bacteria, as well as other viruses. This increases the time-to-result, which is a problem during a pandemic when sanitiser is needed quickly on the ‘frontline’.

We are developing a simpler method with a focus on a SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus to speed up the process of checking SARS-CoV-2-effective sanitisers (and disinfectants) which are being made available to the industry. With more of these products on the market, it is less likely that the industry will experience a shortage during the pandemic.

Swabbing for coronavirus

Currently, there are swabbing kits available to detect coronavirus in patient samples. However, the question of whether the food industry can use these kits for environmental monitoring, to ensure their cleaning regimes are working correctly, still stands.

Work will determine whether these kits are still effective outside of a medical setting – where coronavirus numbers will likely be lower. If deemed effective, food manufacturers and retailers will be able to determine whether they need to put additional measures in place to control the virus at their premises. Get in touch with Martin to find out more.

Contact: Martin D'Agostino
+44(0)1386 842537