Open Access Open Badges Research article

Does limited virucidal activity of biocides include duck hepatitis B virucidal action?

Andreas Sauerbrei13*, Michael Schacke1, Brigitte Glück1, Uwe Bust1, Holger F Rabenau23 and Peter Wutzler13

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Virology and Antiviral Chemotherapy, Jena University Clinic, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 2, Jena, 07745, Germany

2 Institute of Medical Virology, Hospital of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, Paul-Ehrlich-Strasse 40, Frankfurt am Main, 60596, Germany

3 German Association for the Control of Virus Diseases e.V, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 2, Jena, 07745, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:276  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-276

Published: 30 October 2012



There is agreement that the infectivity assay with the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) is a suitable surrogate test to validate disinfectants for hepatitis B virucidal activity. However, since this test is not widely used, information is necessary whether disinfectants with limited virucidal activity also inactivate DHBV. In general, disinfectants with limited virucidal activity are used for skin and sensitive surfaces while agents with full activity are more aggressive. The present study compares the activity of five different biocides against DHBV and the classical test virus for limited virucidal activity, the vaccinia virus strain Lister Elstree (VACV) or the modified vaccinia Ankara strain (MVA).


Virucidal assay was performed as suspension test according to the German DVV/RKI guideline. Duck hepatitis B virus obtained from congenitally infected Peking ducks was propagated in primary duck embryonic hepatocytes and was detected by indirect immunofluorescent antigen staining.


The DHBV was inactivated by the use of 40% ethanol within 1-min and 30% isopropanol within 2-min exposure. In comparison, 40% ethanol within 2-min and 40% isopropanol within 1-min exposure were effective against VACV/MVA. These alcohols only have limited virucidal activity, while the following agents have full activity. 0.01% peracetic acid inactivated DHBV within 2 min and a concentration of 0.005% had virucidal efficacy against VACV/MVA within 1 min. After 2-min exposure, 0.05% glutardialdehyde showed a comparable activity against DHBV and VACV/MVA. This is also the case for 0.7% formaldehyde after a contact time of 30 min.


Duck hepatitis B virus is at least as sensitive to limited virucidal activity as VACV/MVA. Peracetic acid is less effective against DHBV, while the alcohols are less effective against VACV/MVA. It can be expected that in absence of more direct tests the results may be extrapolated to HBV.

Duck hepatitis B virus; Vaccinia virus; Disinfectants; Limited virucidal activity