Coronavirus Pandemic: [MM1] [GU2] In December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel coronavirus, started an outbreak of pneumonia, which rapidly spread worldwide. According to several studies published in reputed scientific journals, the virus is detectable in the air for up to three hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. Microbe Investigations Switzerland (MIS) provides testing services to determine the antiviral property of a surface (Glass, steel, leather, fabrics, paper, ceramics, etc) or liquid (antiviral compounds, disinfectants, etc.) against SARS-CoV-2 and many other viruses.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cases has peaked and dropped several times. Each time Coronavirus infection has peaked, it is associated with the emergence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These new variants have hindered the efforts of vaccines and other therapeutic developments. Depending on the ease of transmission of the virus, severity of the disease, escape the body’s immune response, a new variant is classified as Variant of Interest (VOI) or Variant of Concern (VOC).

VOCs spread more easily, cause more severe disease, escape the body’s immune response, change the clinical presentation, or decrease the effectiveness of known tools such as public health measures, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. Omicron, a new VOC of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in an exponential increase in the number of cases in many countries.

WHO label  Earliest documented samples Date of designation 
Alpha  United Kingdom,  
Beta  South Africa,  
Gamma  Brazil,  
Delta  India,  
VOI: 4-Apr-2021 
VOC: 11-May-2021
Omicron* Multiple countries, Nov-2021 VUM: 24-Nov-2021 VOC: 26-Nov-2021

        Table 1: Different VOC in circulation

Also Read: Top Facts about the JIS L 1902 Test Method

Omicron (Variant B.1.1.529)

What do we know so far?

On November 24, 2021, South Africa reported the identification of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, to the WHO and it was classified as VOC by WHO on 26 November 2021. The variant has many mutations, especially in the spike protein, which means the virus acts differently from other variants that are circulating. Initial screenings of infections by the omicron variant suggest that most cases are without any symptoms. The severity of illness is low with people recovering from the infection quickly compared to the infection from other corona virus variants reported previously. Other clinical finding, such as hospitalization and respiratory support associated with previous variants, are not usually seen with the omicron variant.

Transmissibility: Previously circulating coronavirus variants are relatively less transmissible compared to the omicron variant. The doubling time is short, as evident from the sudden exponential rise in the number of cases across the world.

Potential for immune escape: Immune response by vaccination or from previous infection by other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 seems to give lowcross-protection against the omicron variant. Hence, experts believe a booster dose might enhance the protection against omicron. However, some of the vaccine manufacturing companies, such as Pfizer are making changes in their available vaccine, so as to give protection against the omicron variant.

Omicron new variants: BA.4, BA.5, BF.7 and XBB.1.5

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and, yet we don’t see the end of it. The healthcare systems of most developed countries have been stretched to their limit and often overwhelmed to contain the spread of the new strains (Omicron BA.4, BA.5, BF.7, XBB. 1.5) of SARS-COV-2.  Every few weeks there is a new variant identified, better at escaping the existing immune response of SARS-COV2 and potential to cause reinfections. Overall, the governing bodies around the world don’t have a clear answer to the ongoing challenges except for more booster doses to keep the immune response high enough to prevent reinfection from the ever-evolving Omicron variants (BA.4, BA.5, BF.7, XBB. 1.5). 

Every new variant of Omicron has some modifications that enable the virus to behave differently than the other variant. Hence, it’s very important that the existing and the new disinfectants or antivirals are tested against the circulating variants of Omicron variants (BA.4, BA.5, BF.7, XBB. 1.5).

Also Read: The ISO 21702 Test Method Explained 

How can Microbe Investigations (MIS) help you?

Microbe Investigations can test your products Liquids (paints, sanitizers, disinfectants), hard surfaces (glass, ceramic, plastics), soft surfaces (textiles, films etc.) using the following viruses: SARS-CoV-2, and it select variants oc43 Beta Coronavirus, Human Coronavirus (229E), Influenza A (H1N1), Influenza A (H3N2). The booking process is rapid and straightforward. We will perform the test and submit the report on your preferred date.

We offer a range of antiviral tests including the standard methods ISO 18184, ISO 21702, and EN 14476. For more information and to book a test, please reach out to us. We are happy to help!

Founded in 2012 by a group of ETH researchers in the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health at ETH Zürich, MIS is a spin-off company of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.



Antibacterial Test | Antiviral Test | ASTM E2149 | AATCC 100 | JIS Z 2801 | JIS L 1902 | EN 1276 | ISO 21702 | ISO 18184 | EN 14476 | ISO 22196 | ISO 20743 | ISO 17299-3 | Arm in Cage Test | Room Test | Tunnel Test | Olfactometer Test | Tick Repellent Test | Minimum Inhibitory Concentration Test | Zone of Inhibition Test | ISO 846 | ASTM E2180 | ASTM D7907-14 | ASTM E3031 | AATCC 147 | AATCC 30 | ASTM G21 | ASTM G29 | EN 16615 | EN 13697 | JIS L 1922


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