Virology Testing

Virology testing is a specialised area of microbiology, that very few labs have the capability carrying out testing for but is becoming increasingly popular, to support claims on biocidal products. Here at Melbec we have two, purpose-built laboratories, dedicated solely to virology testing and we offer a wide range of standards, along with bespoke testing and research.

Usually, people have their biocidal product tested against a virology standard to make a claim against either a certain virus or a generalised antiviral claim. The product type will determine which virology standard is most relevant, or for specialist products we can write bespoke methods. The product type may also limit the number of claims that can be made. One example of this is that with hand sanitisers, you can make antiviral claims with the correct test, but you may not be able to make specific claims against diseases as well, if classing the product as a biocide. Making claims against specific diseases that are meant for human disinfection can push the product into medical device territory rather than a biocidal, meaning that the product will fall under different regulations. For more information about making specific claims on hand sanitisers you can contact the MHRA who are the governing body for medical products.

For disinfectants that aren’t intended to be used on humans, more specific claims can usually be used. According to the ECHA, if you have efficacy data against a specific organism and the testing was realistic to how the product shall be used, then you can make a claim. Although the ECHA does state this is generally looked at on a case-by-case basis, so it may be worth speaking to the HSE first (they are the responsible for biocidal regulations in the UK). We have a large library of organisms, and you can find out more about these on our organism fact sheets page. We can also purchase additional organisms for specific projects.

Virucidal testing

Virucidal testing is very different from other anti-microbial testing, and this is because of a couple of reasons. One of them being that the viruses are ‘grown up’ on living cells rather than on the usual agar/culture media we use for other types of organisms. This can cause problems if the product has a cytotoxic effect. A cytotoxic effect is when the product itself damages or kills the cells. When this happens, it isn’t possible to tell whether the test criteria were met, and the test would be invalid. At Melbec, we have put two different processes in place to reduce the cytotoxicity of products. These methods are LVP and micro spin plating. As far as we know, we are the only lab in Europe that doesn’t charge extra for this service and is included in our already competitive prices!

To determine whether the test will be a pass, we count the number of cells that are left alive. The more cells that are alive, the less virus there is. If there are fewer cells left, it shows that less of the virus has been killed. This is because viruses live off and destroy the cells in the process. If the product is cytotoxic and has killed the cells, we have no way of telling whether there is any virus left or not.


Below are the products that we commonly test and the standards that are required for each. You can click on the standards to find out more about them.

EN 14476 is the most commonly used and is for all disinfectant products in both the medical and domestic markets at phase 2 step 1.

EN 16777 is the most common surface test and is used for both the medical and industrial area general purpose disinfectants. It is one of the phase 2 step 2 options after the EN 14476.

This test is for non-porous materials such as impregnated plastics or coated metals.

This testing is for porous antiviral material.  Things such as fabrics and cardboard can be tested against this.

EN 17111 is another phase two step two test that is used after the EN 14476 but is designed for medical instrument disinfection.

EN 14675 is the phase 2 step 1 test for all Veterinary disinfectants.

This test is against for all disinfectants products and is a suspension test but is more relevant to American markets than to UK or European ones.

This test is for fogging disinfection systems and is a phase 2 step 2 test.

BS EN 17122:2019 is a phase 2, step 2 surface test standard that provides guidelines for quantitative testing of virucidal activity on non-porous surfaces used in veterinary areas.

EN 17430:2024 is a Phase 2, Step 2 surface test for establishing whether a product for hygienic handrub reduces the release of virus contamination on hands when rubbed onto the artificially contaminated hands of volunteers.

Find out how we can help

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