Cold Atmospheric Plasma

Evaluation of Cold Atmospheric Plasma to decontaminate surgical instrument surfaces and eliminate prion infectivity

Project: The project “Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP)” aimed to evaluate the impact of cold plasma treatment on prion infectivity. This “plasma” corresponds to a gaseous form of energy, resulting from the breakdown of oxygen into reactive oxygen species (ROS) by a pair of electrodes. ROS could then destroy proteins, including prions which resistconventional hospital decontamination procedures. In preliminary data, the technique seemed to be relevant for prion inactivation. It was proposed in this program to evaluate synergies between this technique and those used in hospital. If this worked, this technique would therefore be very powerful for prion decontamination of heat sensitive medical devices in hospital.

Main results and related published data: The efficacy of the technology was tested on 263K contaminated surgical surfaces. Episcopic microscopy, combined with fluorescent dyes, has been previously shown to be extremely sensitive for detecting residual prion proteins on surfaces, and demonstrated a reduction of over 6-log of total protein contamination (including prions) from an initial load of 1 µg following CAP treatment. The next step would consist of an animal bioassay to correlate this decrease to a decrease of infectiosity.