Air, surface contamination high in isolation centres for Covid-19 patients: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 10, 2020 Published on August 10, 2020

A study published in the journal Nature corroborated earlier findings that SARS-CoV-2 can be spread by air and even through surfaces. The study was carried by the University of Nebraska Medical Center in association with the National Strategic Research Institute USA, Livemint reported.

The study stated that all air samples and surfaces were contaminated in the areas where the Covid-19 patients had been quarantined.

The researchers noted that the administration should take airborne isolation precautions while catering to Covid-19 patients.

For the study, the researchers collected samples from exercise equipment, cellular phones, TV remotes, and medical equipment while room surface samples included ventilation grates, tabletops, and window ledges.

Toilet samples were obtained from the rim of the bowl. Air samples were collected both in isolation rooms and in the hallways of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU) and National Quarantine Unit (NQU) during sampling activities, while patients were present.

According to the findings, of the 163 samples collected in this study, 121 (72.4 per cent) had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result for SARS-CoV-2.

“We found 63.2 per cent of in-room air samples to be positive by RT-PCR. Samples taken outside the rooms in the hallways were 58.3 per cent positive,” the researchers said in the study.

According to the study, 77.8 per cent of samples of cellular phones were found positive for SARS-CoV-2. 55.6 per cent of remote controls of in-room televisions were positive. Samples collected from toilets in isolation rooms were 81 per cent positive, while 70.8 per cent of the bedside tables and bed rails indicated the presence of the virus. Of all room surfaces sampled, the study said, 75 per cent were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

“The data suggest that viral aerosol particles are produced by individuals that have the Covid-19 disease, even in the absence of cough,”” the study said, as cited in the Livemint report.

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Published on August 10, 2020
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