Coronavirus heat treatment protocol
by Tommy Underhill
March 19, 2020
Now that we have current credible guidance regarding SARS-CoV-2 fomite viability, Dr Michael R. Linford proposes the following coronavirus heat treatment protocol for disinfecting structures from individual rooms all the way up to an entire structure. We have developed this protocol based on information confirmed by independent laboratory research.
Coronavirus heat treatments with GreenTech Heat equipment
Many of you already have GreenTech Heat equipment.
For those with ePro electric heaters or Titan propane heaters, a sufficient quantity of fans, and wired or wireless temperature probes, there is nothing else you need to purchase to begin conducting coronavirus heat disinfection treatments. You have all the equipment you need to conduct a coronavirus disinfection. Since a coronavirus disinfection treatment requires a slight elevation of temperature when compared to temperatures required for successful insect treatments, additional prudence is required to ensure a safe and thorough treatment. Prior to treating, it is imperative to follow the pre-treatment checklist and equipment setup protocols in the Bed Bug Heat Treatment Field Guide.
Tom Costello, Technical Director at GreenTech Heat, remarks that the ePro electric heaters and AM4000 fans are designed to operate in temperatures up to 77°C/170°F. Equipment from other manufacturers may not operate as expected when exposed to disinfection temperatures and treatment durations. It is never safe to place propane tanks within a heat treatment area. Always position the propane tanks safely outside of the heating zone.
For everyone who does not yet have a GreenTech Heat system, your equipment requirements are solely based on the size (both square footage and cube volume) and compartmentalization of the treatment area. Our electric ePro electric bed bug heaters provide the ability to set up a treatment area at the end of the day and return the following morning with the peace of mind the area is disinfected.
What GreenTech Heat equipment is needed?
The ePro line of electric heaters will disinfect the following sizes of treatment areas in a ten-hour timeframe: (click on the heater name for additional information or to purchase)
- ePro 400: typical room up to 200 square feet
- ePro 400 and 1 AM4000 fan: typical room up to 400 square feet
- ePro 400 hotel: typical room up to 200 square feet
- ePro 400 hotel and 1 AM4000 fan: typical room up to 400 square feet
- ePro 600: typical room up to 400 square feet
- ePro 600 and 1 AM4000 fan: typical room up to 600 square feet
- ePro 1400: 240V, up to 800 square feet
- ePro 1400 and 2 AM4000 fans: 240V, up to 1,400 square feet, multiple rooms treatable with additional fans
- Titan 450 and 4 AM4000 fans: up to 2,000 square feet
- Titan 800 and 4 AM4000 fans: up to 4,000 square feet
For treatments in excess of 4,000 square feet, utilize an additional Titan 800 packages for each 4,000 square feet of space. For example, a 15,000 square foot building could require up to four Titan 800 packages for a comprehensive treatment.
Historical laboratory testing (Gerba, 1997; Laude, 1981) have demonstrated in the laboratory that heat denatures or deactivates the family of coronaviruses when exposed to 55°C/131°F for 2 minutes.
Before you rush out and blast your treatment area at this temperature for half an hour, keep in mind the many differences between laboratory conditions and what we encounter in the field. Firstly, laboratories rarely conduct temperature mortality tests with the microbe below the keycap of a keyboard, placed on the surface of a desk, residing below the fabric surface of a couch or chair, by the latch in a door jamb, within a stack of papers inside a filing cabinet, or hiding in plain sight on a bathroom mirror. Laboratory studies don’t have heat sinks, vinyl windows, or concrete floors.
Laboratory tests generally measure temperature viability with a microbe grown on culture within a sealed petri dish placed inside an autoclave. This is the antithesis of a heat treatment in the field: everything that can be regulated and controlled is.
Reintroduction requires repeated disinfections
It is important to keep in mind that a disinfection is only efficacious on microbes that are in the treatment area at the time of the treatment. Heat, like sprayed or wiped topical disinfectants, has no long-term protection against any microbe. If your building, waiting room, treatment room, call center, or office is repeatedly exposed by people who have come into contact with or been exposed to the novel coronavirus, the location will require subsequent or follow-up treatments.
Once a week, self treat with heat.
Steps to take
During a microbe-focused heat treatment, it is imperative that all aerosol containers—such as bug sprays, cans of Lysol, cans of air fresheners—be removed from the treatment area prior to beginning treatment.
Be sure to run the HVAC fan (not A/C!) during the heat treatment process to move lethal levels of heated air through the entire system—ducts, fans, heaters, etc. Do not remove the air filters during this stage of the heat treatment—keep the old filters in the heater and allow the heat treatment to disinfect them as part of the coronavirus heat treatment.
A complete and thorough microbial disinfection
The GreenTech Heat process will also provide legitimate peace of mind that the structure is free of viral contamination.
A single treatment with temperatures only slightly higher and durations slightly longer than an aggressive bed bug treatment will eliminate organisms throughout the treatment area. A complete listing can be found in Bed Bug Heat Treatment Field Guide.
GreenTech Heat technology allows you to self-treat with heat for the coronavirus on your schedule and as your needs demand. Our certified training lets you do it right and do it safely the first time. Regardless of whether you self-treat with heat, or contract a heat professional, heat safely kills the coronavirus everywhere it may be found in a single one-day treatment. Call us at 888-699-3944 to get started with heat today.