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2.
Indoor Air ; n/a(n/a), 2021.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1409407

ABSTRACT

Abstract Reliable methods to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 at venues where people gather are essential for epidemiological surveillance to guide public policy. Communal screening of air in a highly crowded space has the potential to provide early warning on the presence and potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as suggested by studies early in the epidemic. As hospitals and public facilities apply varying degrees of restrictions and regulations, it is important to provide multiple methodological options to enable environmental SARS-CoV-2 surveillance under different conditions. This study assessed the feasibility of using high-flowrate air samplers combined with RNA extraction kit designed for environmental sample to perform airborne SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in hospital setting, tested by RT-qPCR. The success rate of the air samples in detecting SARS-CoV-2 was then compared with surface swab samples collected in the same proximity. Additionally, positive RT-qPCR samples underwent viral culture to assess the viability of the sampled SARS-CoV-2. The study was performed in inpatient ward environments of a quaternary care university teaching hospital in Singapore housing active COVID-19 patients within the period of February to May 2020. Two types of wards were tested, naturally ventilated open-cohort ward and mechanically ventilated isolation ward. Distances between the site of air sampling and the patient cluster in the investigated wards were also recorded. No successful detection of airborne SARS-CoV-2 was recorded when 50 L/min air samplers were used. Upon increasing the sampling flowrate to 150 L/min, our results showed a high success rate in detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 from the air samples (72%) compared to the surface swab samples (9.6%). The positive detection rate of the air samples along with the corresponding viral load could be associated with the distance between sampling site and patient. The furthest distance from patient with PCR-positive air samples was 5.5 m. The airborne SARS-CoV-2 detection was comparable between the two types of wards with 60%?87.5% success rate. High prevalence of the virus was found in toilet areas, both on surfaces and in air. Finally, no successful culture attempt was recorded from the environmental air or surface samples.

3.
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg ; 147(5): 418-425, 2021 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086243

ABSTRACT

Importance: Three-dimensionally printed nasopharyngeal swabs (3DP swabs) have been used to mitigate swab shortages during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinical validation for diagnostic accuracy and consistency, as well as patient acceptability, is crucial to evaluate the swab's performance. Objective: To determine the accuracy and acceptability of the 3DP swab for identifying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Design, Setting, and Participants: A diagnostic study was conducted from May to July 2020 at 2 tertiary care centers in Singapore with different reference swabs (FLOQSwab [COPAN Diagnostics] or Dacron swab [Deltalab]) and swab processing techniques (wet or dry) to evaluate the performance of the 3DP swab compared with traditional, standard-of-care nasopharyngeal swabs used in health care institutions. The participants were patients with COVID-19 in the first 2 weeks of illness and controls with acute respiratory illness with negative test results for SARS-CoV-2. Paired nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the same nostril and tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The sequence of swabs was randomized based on odd and even participant numbers. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcome measures were overall agreement (OA), positive percentage agreement (PPA), and negative percentage agreement of the 3DP swab compared with reference swabs. Secondary outcome measures were the correlation of cycle threshold (Ct) values of both swabs. Results: The mean (SD) age of participants was 45.4 (13.1) years, and most participants were men (87 of 89 [97.8%]), in keeping with the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. A total of 79 patients with COVID-19 and 10 controls were recruited. Among the patients with COVID-19, the overall agreement and PPA of the 3DP swab was 91.1% and 93.5%, respectively, compared with reference swabs. The PPA was 100% for patients with COVID-19 who were tested within the first week of illness. All controls tested negative. The reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction Ct values for the ORF1ab and E-gene targets showed a strong correlation (intraclass correlations coefficient, 0.869-0.920) between the 3DP and reference swab on independent testing at each institution despite differences in sample processing. Discordant results for both gene targets were observed only at high Ct values. Conclusions and Relevance: In this diagnostic study of 79 patients with COVID-19 and 10 controls, the 3DP swab performed accurately and consistently across health care institutions and could help mitigate strained resources in the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/instrumentation , COVID-19/diagnosis , Nasopharynx/virology , Printing, Three-Dimensional , Adult , Equipment Design , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Infect Dis Ther ; 10(2): 1015-1022, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023371

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis is currently a real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect SARS-CoV-2. This is most commonly performed on respiratory secretions obtained via a nasopharyngeal swab. Due to supply chain limitations and high demand worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to commercial nasopharyngeal swabs has not been assured. 3D printing methods have been used to meet the shortfall. For longer-term considerations, 3D printing may not compare well with injection molding as a production method due to the challenging scalability and greater production costs of 3D printing. METHODS: To secure sufficient nasopharyngeal swab availability for our national healthcare system, we designed a novel injection molded nasopharyngeal swab (the IM2 swab). We performed a clinical diagnostic study comparing the IM2 swab to the Copan FLOQSwab. Forty patients with a known diagnosis of COVID-19 and 10 healthy controls were recruited. Paired nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the same nostril of each participant and tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. RESULTS: When compared to the Copan FLOQswab, results from the IM2 swab displayed excellent overall agreement and positive percent agreement of 96.0% and 94.9%, respectively. There was no significant difference in mean RT-PCR cycle threshold values for the ORF1ab (28.05 vs. 28.03, p = 0.97) and E-gene (29.72 vs. 29.37, p = 0.64) targets, respectively. We did not observe any significant adverse events and there was no significant difference in patient-reported pain. CONCLUSION: In summary, the IM2 nasopharyngeal swab is a clinically safe, highly accurate option to commercial nasopharyngeal swabs.

5.
BMC Med ; 18(1): 179, 2020 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-549100

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On January 30, COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern-a week after Singapore's first imported case and 5 days before local transmission. The National University Hospital (NUH) is Singapore's third largest hospital with 1200 beds, heavy clinical workloads, and major roles in research and teaching. MAIN BODY: With memories of SARS still vivid, there was an urgent requirement for the NUH Division of Infectious Diseases to adapt-undergoing major reorganization to face rapidly changing priorities while ensuring usual essential services and standards. Leveraging on individual strengths, our division mobilized to meet the demands of COVID-19 while engaging in high-level coordination, strategy, and advocacy. We present our experience of the 60 days since the nation's first case. During this time, our hospital has managed 3030 suspect cases, including 1300 inpatients, 37 confirmed cases, and overseen 4384 samples tested for COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Complex hospital adaptations were supported by an unprecedented number of workflows and coordination channels essential to safe and effective operations. The actions we describe, aligned with international recommendations and emerging evidence-based best practices, may serve as a framework for other divisions and institutions facing the spread of COVID-19 globally.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Hospitals, University , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Public Health , Academic Medical Centers , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Hospitals, University/organization & administration , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Workload
6.
Headache ; 60(5): 864-877, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-98794

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease of pandemic proportions. Healthcare workers in Singapore working in high-risk areas were mandated to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 face mask and protective eyewear while attending to patients. OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine the risk factors associated with the development of de novo PPE-associated headaches as well as the perceived impact of these headaches on their personal health and work performance. The impact of COVID-19 on pre-existing headache disorders was also investigated. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study among healthcare workers at our tertiary institution who were working in high-risk hospital areas during COVID-19. All respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: A total of 158 healthcare workers participated in the study. Majority [126/158 (77.8%)] were aged 21-35 years. Participants included nurses [102/158 (64.6%)], doctors [51/158 (32.3%)], and paramedical staff [5/158 (3.2%)]. Pre-existing primary headache diagnosis was present in about a third [46/158 (29.1%)] of respondents. Those based at the emergency department had higher average daily duration of combined PPE exposure compared to those working in isolation wards [7.0 (SD 2.2) vs 5.2 (SD 2.4) hours, P < .0001] or medical ICU [7.0 (SD 2.2) vs 2.2 (SD 0.41) hours, P < .0001]. Out of 158 respondents, 128 (81.0%) respondents developed de novo PPE-associated headaches. A pre-existing primary headache diagnosis (OR = 4.20, 95% CI 1.48-15.40; P = .030) and combined PPE usage for >4 hours per day (OR 3.91, 95% CI 1.35-11.31; P = .012) were independently associated with de novo PPE-associated headaches. Since COVID-19 outbreak, 42/46 (91.3%) of respondents with pre-existing headache diagnosis either "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that the increased PPE usage had affected the control of their background headaches, which affected their level of work performance. CONCLUSION: Most healthcare workers develop de novo PPE-associated headaches or exacerbation of their pre-existing headache disorders.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Headache/epidemiology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment/adverse effects , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Adult , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Singapore/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
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