What is an Emerging Viral Pathogen (EVP)?

Gabby MartinDate Posted:
Last Updated: Biohazards, Diseases, Sanitization


  • What is an EVP?

  • EPA Guidelines

  • Active EVP Cases (2022)

Emerging Viral Pathogen (EVP)

Many new viruses emerge each year. The greatest concern are the “pathogenic viruses”,  or the ones that are or potentially fatal that grow out of control. These are the kinds of situations you find in movies and TV shows.

As a society, we’ve seen how major pathogenic outbreaks can affect us at any time. Bio Recovery, a nationwide emergency pathogenic response team, is licensed to take action to disinfect these situations. Bio Recovery is required to follow EPA guidelines on disinfecting viruses in the event of a new outbreak. These guidelines are called “Emerging Viral Pathogen” Guidance.

What does Emerging Viral Pathogen mean?

Emerging Viral Pathogens (EVP), also sometimes called emerging infectious diseases, refer to newly discovered viruses that cause fatal or potentially fatal ailments in humans. It is usually used by emergency response organizations such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is used when too many people in an area are experiencing more cases than usual. You may hear it from professional disinfection services teams such as Bio Recovery as well, because these companies are required to be licensed by the EPA to stay open.

The emergence of new pathogenic viruses is not that common. Since the discovery of the tobacco mosaic virus and foot-and-mouth disease virus in 1892, new pathogenic viruses have been identified about 3-4 times a year. While it sounds good that there are so few, that makes the unpredictability and rare chance of an EVP problem harder to respond to when a situation happens.

EVP Tiers

The EPA is a government run agency that looks at public health issues to recommend and enforce environmentally friendly solutions. One of the ways the agency does this is by enforcing companies to adhere to certain guidelines, even when the issue is newly discovered. In effort to standardize the process and promote safety, the EPA has divided EVP guidance into three tiers. These tiers give the EPA a blueprint for how new pathogens should be treated. 

Tier 1: Enveloped Viruses

The harmful genetic material is enveloped on the outside of the cell, which is how enveloped viruses get their name. This also means they are more susceptible to disinfectants. While they are much easier to kill, exposure is still potentially serious. Disinfecting practices should still be handled with thorough attention, care, and proper safety procedures.

Tier 2: Large Nonenveloped Viruses

Tier 2 nonenveloped viruses have no protruding material and therefore require different disinfection procedures than enveloped viruses. Tier 2 nonenveloped viruses are thicker than Tier 3 nonenveloped viruses, allowing them to take up a slightly larger surface area. As a result they are easier to kill than Tier 3. 

Tier 3: Small Nonenveloped Viruses

These types of nonenveloped viruses are potentially more dangerous and difficult to kill. They get this reputation due to their small size and tougher outer layer. Not only are they very hard to reach, only certain solvents can dissolve the outermost layer.

The challenges of killing a pathogen varies depending on what it is, and how the disinfectant is being used. There is an improper way of choosing and using a disinfectant, which is why it’s important to contact a professionally trained and disinfecting service like Bio Recovery. 

EPA Guidance For Emerging Viral Pathogens (EVP)

EPA registered disinfectants are not synonymous with recommended. Registered simply means the product has undergone thorough testing to ensure the product is suitable for what it claims to do in a way that is least harmful to the environment. When the EPA registers a product, the product receives a registration number required on the label to provide authenticity, testing and proper quality control information.

Pathogens of all different types have been around for some time. Each type of pathogen has been through trials with different disinfectants. The ones that the EPA knows are killed with certain products have been assigned to a unique list and category. The lists are alphabetized from A-Q and the categories range from issues such as HIV to influenza. Since this information is available online, you may wonder if you can handle these issues yourself. While you can read about it online, making the decision to use a product requires training and experience.

Which disinfectants are used when a pathogen has just been discovered?

Unfortunately, it is possible for a new pathogen to have no assigned disinfectant. The EPA works with disinfectant companies to develop products as quickly as possible. That’s where claims come into play. An EVP claim is filed by a company that makes the disinfectant product. After it is tested and determined suitable, it joins “List Q”, or Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens (EVP).

While this process takes place, the EPA releases information on what disinfectants work the best given how dangerous the pathogen is and what’s already available. You can search these pending claims, as well as which disinfectants have been working best, on the EPA website here. Companies like Bio Recovery use these EPA-registered disinfectants to prevent the pathogen from spreading.

Active EVP Cases

As of 2022, there are a few currently active cases under EVP guidance:

Pathogen NameEVP InitiatedCurrent Information and Disinfection Procedures
Monkeypox VirusMay 2022
  • Treated as a Tier 1 Enveloped Virus.
  • Rare skin rash.
  • Recent outbreaks are currently ongoing in major cities (e.g. NYC).
  • There are no recommended EPA-registered disinfectants yet. See List Q for closest matches and current contenders.
SARS-CoV-2 and other variantsJanuary 2020
  • Tier 1 Enveloped Virus
  • Most soaps and hand sanitizers containing 60-95% alcohol are sufficient enough to destroy. See List N for other EPA registered disinfectants.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)July 2020
  • Highly contagious biohazard to Rabbits. Not known to impact human health.
  • See List O for disinfectants.

As a licensed, bonded, and insured nationwide emergency response company of over 20 years, Bio Recovery is equipped with a wider range of PPE, EPA approved disinfectants, and hands on experience to handle all pathogens, even ones that the EPA hasn’t issued a recommended disinfectant for.

Let us take care of it so you don’t have to. Call our 24/7 hotline any time you need assistance.

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