Reducing Environmental Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 - An Overview of Findings Webinar
About the Webinar
Originally presented June 28, 2021
Over the past year, EPA researchers have been working to answer a number of questions related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to help inform state and local decisions on cleaning and disinfection. To assist with this, EPA developed guidance in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to properly clean and disinfect public spaces and private homes to prevent potential exposure to COVID-19. The use of EPA-approved disinfectants were assessed against SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces and objects, which underlies this guidance. Long-lasting microbial disinfectants and application methods for surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by different people were investigated. Innovative ways for disinfecting large spaces were evaluated, such as killing viruses through the use of ultraviolet light, ozone, and steam, where it is not practical to continuously disinfect. New application methods for disinfectants, such as electrostatic sprayers and foggers were also assessed. Additionally, EPA researchers began evaluating technologies that can safely operate in occupied spaces and reduce the amount of virus in the air. This webinar will highlight the latest findings on SARS-CoV-2 related to the questions EPA is exploring and what they mean to state, local, and tribal agencies making public health decisions.
About the Speakers
Shawn Ryan is the Director of the Homeland Security & Materials Management Division in ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. In addition, Shawn is the National Program Director for EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program. Shawn has over 19 years of experience at EPA, including 16 years leading research to support EPA’s Homeland Security mission. He has initiated and led several large-scale interagency projects that have made significant advances in Homeland Security and served as models of partnership. His research focuses on biological and chemical agent-related decontamination.
Kristen Willis received her B.S. in microbiology from Cornell University in 2003 and her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2010. Her graduate work focused on vaccinia virus, a close relative of smallpox virus. Kristen was a National Research Council Post-doctoral fellow from 2010-2013 working for the Department of Defense, followed by a research microbiologist with Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Kristen joined the EPA in 2016 as a senior scientist and is currently the branch chief of the Product Science Branch in the Office of Pesticide Programs Antimicrobials division.
Worth Calfee is a research microbiologist with over 20 years of microbiological research experience, including 10 years at the U.S. EPA in decontamination and consequence management of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) agents. His research foci include sampling, decontamination, and management of wastes from CBRN contamination incidents. Dr. Calfee received his Ph.D. in 2007 from East Carolina University, where he studied coastal and estuarine microbial communities. He also earned a B.S. in molecular biology from East Carolina University in 1999.
Katherine Ratliff is a Research Physical Scientist in ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. Her current research is focused on understanding and quantifying how contaminants move around in the environment, as well as predicting the efficacy of different decontamination and disinfection practices in complex settings. She is achieving these research goals by developing models that are informed by advanced data collection (in the lab and field settings) and analysis techniques. Dr. Ratliff received her B.A. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences from Duke University.
Lukas Oudejans is a Research Physical Scientist with ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. Over the past twelve years, he has gained vast experience in homeland security programs related to research, development and evaluation of innovative technologies for the decontamination of materials contaminated with chemical or biological agents. Currently, he is leading research efforts to assess alternative disinfection technologies like UV light, ozone and steam to clean surfaces contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Dr. Oudejans holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Joseph Wood is a senior research engineer with ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. He has been with the EPA since 1991 (previously doing air pollution engineering) and has been conducting decontamination research since 2004. His research focuses primarily on the development, testing and evaluation of technologies for the decontamination of materials contaminated with biological agents and biotoxins. Joe also investigates the persistence of biological agents as well as treatment and disposal of waste materials contaminated with bioagents. He is the primary author or co-author for over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and ~ 75 US EPA published reports. He holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), and is a licensed professional engineer. Joseph is also HAZWOPER-certified.