Porphyrins are photosensitizers and may be applicable in situations where viral inactivation is required, as for in vitro inactivation of nonenveloped viruses in blood components or in other aqueous media. No study has examined the efficacy of porphyrin inactivation on human pathogens such as hepatitis A virus (HAV) in plasma or other liquids. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of synthetic porphyrins on HAV in porphyrin-containing human plasma and phosphate-buffered saline exposed to long-wavelength (365 nm) UV light. Inactivation of bacteriophage MS2 (MS2) also was determined in some trials. Solutions containing cationic, anionic or amphiphilic porphyrins irradiated with an average light dose of 4.3 J/cm2 for 90 min resulted in >3 log10 (>99.9%) to >4 log10 (>99.99%) inactivation of both HAV and MS2. Viral inactivation may have been greater than observed because the limits of detection of the assay had been reached. Under ambient lighting conditions, none of the porphyrins was mutagenic in the Ames assay and only the congener with the longest chain-length, tetrakis (N-[n-hexadecyl]-4-pyridiniumyl) porphyrin, was appreciably toxic to mammalian cells. Disinfection by photoactivated synthetic porphyrins therefore can offer an effective and relatively safe approach to removal of nonenveloped viruses from aqueous media.
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Vol. 80 • No. 2