Virol J. 2021 Jun 2;18(1):109. doi: 10.1186/s12985-021-01556-6.
BACKGROUND: The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has spread rapidly worldwide and disease prevention is more important than ever. In the absence of a vaccine, knowledge of the transmission routes and risk areas of infection remain the most important existing tools to prevent further spread.
METHODS: Here we investigated the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the hospital environment at the Uppsala University Hospital Infectious Disease ward by RT-qPCR and determined the infectivity of the detected virus in vitro on Vero E6 cells.
RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in several areas, although attempts to infect Vero E6 cells with positive samples were unsuccessful. However, RNase A treatment of positive samples prior to RNA extraction did not degrade viral RNA, indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsids or complete virus particles protecting the RNA as opposed to free viral RNA.
CONCLUSION: Our results show that even in places where a moderate concentration (Ct values between 30 and 38) of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found; no infectious virus could be detected. This suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the hospital environment subsides in two states; as infectious and as non-infectious. Future work should investigate the reasons for the non-infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 virions.