Deactivation of Varicella Zoster Virus Using Cold Atmospheric Plasma

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Ken Cornell


Shingles is a painful condition that will affect one in three Americans1. Currently, there are few therapeutic options available1. The Varicella Zoster virus (VZV), causes chickenpox in children and shingles in individuals with compromised immune systems. Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) uses high voltages to ionize gases and create reactive species. When used topically on tissue infections CAP has demonstrated its ability to stimulate an immune response and reduce healing time. It has also been shown to exhibit virucidal properties against feline calicivirus2, MS2 virus3, and flu viruses4. Moreover, during a randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial CAP demonstrated its ability to decrease healing time of Herpes Zoster lesions in hospitalized individuals5. We hypothesize that topical application of CAP to VZV-infected cells will elicit deactivation of the virus and greatly reduce the recovery period for shingles infection. Ongoing experiments should demonstrate as CAP exposure increases viral plaque formation will decrease. These results would suggest viral inactivation was accomplished using CAP.


1. Roxas M. Herpes Zoster and Postherpetic Neuralgia: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Considerations. Alternative Medicine Review [serial online]. June 2006;11(2):102-113.

2. Aboubakr HA, Williams P, Gangal U, Youssef MM, El-Sohaimy SAA, Bruggeman PJ, Goyal SM. 2015. Virucidal effect of cold atmospheric gaseous plasma on feline calicivirus, a surrogate for human norovirus. Appl Environ Microbiol 81:3612–3622.

3. Wu Y, Liang Y, Wei K, Li W, Yao M, Zhang J, Grinshpun SA. 2015. MS2 virus inactivation by atmospheric-pressure cold plasma using different gas carriers and power levels. Appl Environ Microbiol 81:996 –1002.

4. O. Terrier, B. Essere, M.Yver et al. (June 2009) Cold oxygen plasma technology efficiency against different airborne respiratory viruses. Journal of Clinical Virology 45 p. 119–124.

5. G. Isbary, T. Shimizu, J.L. Zimmermann, J. Heinlin, S. Al-Zaabi, M. Rechfeld, G.E. Morfill, S. Karrer, W. Stolz, Randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial showed cold atmospheric argon plasma relieved acute pain and accelerated healing in herpes zoster, Clinical Plasma Medicine, Volume 2, Issue 2, December 2014, Pages 50-55

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