Airborne spread of COVID-19 by infectious aerosol is all but certain. However, easily implemented approaches to assess the actual environmental threat are currently unavailable. We present a simple approach with the potential to rapidly provide information about the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the atmosphere at any location. We used a portable dehumidifier as a readily available and affordable tool to collect airborne virus in the condensate. The dehumidifiers were deployed in selected locations of a hospital ward with patients reporting flu like symptoms which could possibly be due to COVID-19 over three separate periods of one week. Samples were analyzed frequently for both virus envelope protein and SARS-CoV-2 RNA. In several samples across separate deployments, condensate from dehumidifiers tested positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigens and confirmed using two independent assays. RNA was detected, but not attributable to SARS-CoV-2. Our results point to a facile pool testing method to sample air in any location in the world and assess the presence and concentration of the infectious agent in order to obtain quantitative risk assessment of exposure, designate zones as hot spots and minimize the need for individual testing which may often be time consuming, expensive and laborious.Competing Interest StatementGR has filed a provisional patent application.Funding StatementNone.Author DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:None required.All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesAll data are available upon request in addition to supplementary file.
|Publisher||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press|
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
- Novel coronavirus