The relevance of airborne exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in indoor environments is a matter of research and debate, with special importance for healthcare low-risk settings. Experimental approaches to the bioaerosol sampling are neither standardized nor optimized yet, leading in some cases to limited representativity of the temporal and spatial variability of viral presence in aerosols. Airborne viral viability moreover needs to be assessed. A study has been conducted collecting five 24-h PM10 samples in a COVID-19 geriatric ward in late June 2020, and detecting E and RdRp genes by RT-qPCR with a Ct between 36 and 39. The viral RNA detection at Ct = 36 was related to the maximal numerosity of infected patients hosted in the ward. Lacking a direct infectivity assessment for the collected samples an experimental model has been defined, by seeding twelve nasopharyngeal swab extracts from COVID-19 positive patients on Vero E6 cells; only the four extracts with a viral load above E+10 viral copies (approximately Ct<24) have been able to establish a persistent infection in vitro. Therefore, the cytopathic effect, a key feature of residual infectivity, could be considered unlikely for the environmental PM10 samples showing amplification of viral RNA at Ct = 36 or higher. A standardization of airborne SARS-CoV-2 long-term monitoring and of environmental infectivity assessment is urgently needed.

Molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 from indoor air samples in environmental monitoring needs adequate temporal coverage and infectivity assessment

Barbieri, Pierluigi;Zupin, Luisa
;
Licen, Sabina
;
Torboli, Valentina;Semeraro, Sabrina;Cozzutto, Sergio;de Gennaro, Gianluigi;Fontana, Francesco;Omiciuolo, Cinzia;Pallavicini, Alberto;Crovella, Sergio
2021-01-01

Abstract

The relevance of airborne exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in indoor environments is a matter of research and debate, with special importance for healthcare low-risk settings. Experimental approaches to the bioaerosol sampling are neither standardized nor optimized yet, leading in some cases to limited representativity of the temporal and spatial variability of viral presence in aerosols. Airborne viral viability moreover needs to be assessed. A study has been conducted collecting five 24-h PM10 samples in a COVID-19 geriatric ward in late June 2020, and detecting E and RdRp genes by RT-qPCR with a Ct between 36 and 39. The viral RNA detection at Ct = 36 was related to the maximal numerosity of infected patients hosted in the ward. Lacking a direct infectivity assessment for the collected samples an experimental model has been defined, by seeding twelve nasopharyngeal swab extracts from COVID-19 positive patients on Vero E6 cells; only the four extracts with a viral load above E+10 viral copies (approximately Ct<24) have been able to establish a persistent infection in vitro. Therefore, the cytopathic effect, a key feature of residual infectivity, could be considered unlikely for the environmental PM10 samples showing amplification of viral RNA at Ct = 36 or higher. A standardization of airborne SARS-CoV-2 long-term monitoring and of environmental infectivity assessment is urgently needed.
24-apr-2021
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935121004941?via=ihub
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2989897
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