Detection and infectivity potential of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) environmental contamination in isolation units and quarantine facilities

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2020 Sep 9:S1198-743X(20)30532-2. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2020.09.004. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Environmental surfaces have been suggested as likely contributors to the transmission of COVID-19. This study assessed the infectivity of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contamination on surfaces and objects in hospital isolation units and a quarantine hotel.

METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 virus stability and infectivity on non-porous surfaces was tested under controlled laboratory conditions. Surfaces and air sampling was conducted at two COVID-19 isolation units and in a quarantine hotel. Viral RNA detected by RT-PCR and infectivity was assessed by VERO E6 CPE test.

RESULTS: In laboratory-controlled conditions, SARS-CoV-2 gradually lost its infectivity completely at day 4 at ambient temperature and the decay rate of viral viability on surfaces directly correlated with increase in temperature. Viral RNA detected in 29/55 (52.7%) and 16/42 (38%) surface samples from the surrounding of symptomatic COVID-19 patients in isolation units of two hospitals and in a quarantine hotel for asymptomatic and very mild COVID-19 patients. None of the surface and air samples from all three sites (0/97) were found to contain infectious titers SARS-Cov-2 in tissue culture assay.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite prolonged viability of SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory-controlled conditions, uncultivable viral contamination on inanimate surfaces might suggest low feasibility for indirect fomite transmission.

PMID:32919072 | DOI:10.1016/j.cmi.2020.09.004

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