Coronavirus disinfection in histopathology

J Histotechnol. 2020 Jun;43(2):102-104. doi: 10.1080/01478885.2020.1734718. Epub 2020 Mar 1.


The 2019 Coronavirus epidemic, provisionally called 2019-nCoV, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in persons exposed to a seafood or wet market. There is an international push to contain the virus and prevent its spread. It is feasible that potentially infectious samples may be received in histopathology laboratories for diagnosis. This technical note presents disinfection procedures and histotechnology processes that should alleviate the risk of infection to laboratory staff. Using data obtained from similar coronaviruses, e.g. severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), experts are confident that 70% ethanol and 0.1% sodium hypochlorite should inactivate the virus. Formalin fixation and heating samples to 56oC, as used in routine tissue processing, were found to inactivate several coronaviruses and it is believed that 2019-nCoV would be similarly affected.

Keywords: Coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; biosafety; disinfection; histopathology laboratory; histotechnology.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Containment of Biohazards / methods*
  • Containment of Biohazards / standards
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Disinfection / standards
  • Histological Techniques / standards
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / standards
  • Pandemics*
  • Pathology, Clinical / methods*
  • Pathology, Clinical / standards
  • Pneumonia, Viral*
  • SARS-CoV-2