Two viruses were selected to evaluate performance against RNA and DNA based viruses:
• MS2 bacteriophage is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus that infects the bacterium Escherichia coli. MS2 is routinely used as a simulant for pathogenic RNA viruses such as SARS.
• Phi-X174 bacteriophage is a circular single stranded DNA based virus that infects the bacterium Escherichia coli. Phi-X174 is routinely used as a simulant for DNA viruses such as smallpox.
Two vegetative bacteria were selected as simulants for a broad range of pathogenic bacteria:
• Staphylococcus epidermidis, a Gram-positive bacterium and simulant for a range of medically significant pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus (“staph” infections).
• Erwinia herbicola, renamed Pantoea agglomerans, is a Gram-negative bacterium commonly used as a simulant for Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague).
One species of black mold
• Aspergillus niger was selected because it is a pernicious black mold that has been attributed to many respiratory problems for infants, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. It is particularly difficult to kill in air and on surfaces.