The antipathogenic effects of ozone have been substantiated for several decades. Its killing action upon bacteria, viruses, fungi, and in many species of protozoa, serve as the basis for its increasing use in disinfecting municipal water supplies in cities worldwide.
Typically, viruses are small, independent particles, built of crystals and macromolecules. Unlike bacteria, they multiply only within the host cell. Ozone destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, resulting in damage of the viral RNA. At higher concentrations, ozone destroys the capsid or exterior protein shell by oxidation.
Numerous families of viruses including poliovirus I and 2, human rotaviruses, Norwalk virus, Parvoviruses, and Hepatitis A, B and non-A non-B are among many others that are susceptible to the virucidal actions of ozone. Most research efforts on ozone’s virucidal effects have centred upon ozone’s propensity to break apart lipid molecules at sites of multiple bond configuration. Indeed, once the lipid envelope of the virus is fragmented, its DNA or RNA core cannot survive. Non-enveloped viruses (Adenoviridae, Picornaviridae, namely poliovirus, Coxsachie, Echovirus, Rhinovirus, Hepatitis A and E, and Reoviridae (Rotavirus), have also begun to be studied. Viruses that do not have an envelope are called “naked viruses.” They are constituted of a nucleic acid core (made of DNA or RNA) and a nucleic acid coat, or capsid, made of protein. Ozone, however, aside from its well-recognized action upon unsaturated lipids, can also interact with certain proteins and their constituents, namely amino acids.
Indeed, when ozone comes in contact with capsid proteins, protein hydroxides and protein hydroxides and protein hydroperoxides are formed. Viruses have no protections against oxidative stress. The enveloped viruses are usually more sensitive to physico-chemical challenges than are naked virions. Although ozone’s effects upon unsaturated lipids is one of its best documented biochemical action, ozone is known to interact with proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. The new coronavirus is an enveloped virus.