Spread of pathogens on contaminated surfaces plays a key role in disease transmission. Surface technologies that control pathogen transfer can help control fomite transmission and are of great interest to public health. Here, we report a novel bead transfer method for evaluating fomite transmission in common laboratory settings. We show that this method meets several important criteria for quantitative test methods, including reasonableness, relevancy, resemblance, responsiveness, and repeatability, and therefore may be adaptable for standardization. In addition, this method can be applied to a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, phage, and human viruses. Using the bead transfer method, we demonstrate that an engineered micropattern limits transfer of Staphylococcus aureus by 97.8% and T4 bacteriophage by 93.0% on silicone surfaces. Furthermore, the micropattern significantly reduces transfer of influenza B virus and human coronavirus on silicone and polypropylene surfaces. Our results highlight the potential of using surface texture as a valuable new strategy in combating infectious diseases.
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