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


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.

Indoor Air ; 31(5): 1639-1644, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194130


Facing shortages of personal protective equipment, some clinicians have advocated the use of barrier enclosures (typically mounted over the head, with and without suction) to contain aerosol emissions from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. There is, however, little evidence for its usefulness. To test the effectiveness of such a device, we built a manikin that can expire micron-sized aerosols at flow rates close to physiological conditions. We then placed the manikin inside the enclosure and used a laser sheet to visualize the aerosol leaking out. We show that with sufficient suction, it is possible to effectively contain aerosol from the manikin, reducing aerosol exposure outside the enclosure by 99%. In contrast, a passive barrier without suction only reduces aerosol exposure by 60%.

Air Pollution, Indoor/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , Humans , Models, Anatomic , SARS-CoV-2 , Suction/methods
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 475, 2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1180282


COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The viral spike (S) protein engages the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to invade host cells with ~10-15-fold higher affinity compared to SARS-CoV S-protein, making it highly infectious. Here, we assessed if ACE2 polymorphisms can alter host susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 by affecting this interaction. We analyzed over 290,000 samples representing >400 population groups from public genomic datasets and identified multiple ACE2 protein-altering variants. Using reported structural data, we identified natural ACE2 variants that could potentially affect virus-host interaction and thereby alter host susceptibility. These include variants S19P, I21V, E23K, K26R, T27A, N64K, T92I, Q102P and H378R that were predicted to increase susceptibility, while variants K31R, N33I, H34R, E35K, E37K, D38V, Y50F, N51S, M62V, K68E, F72V, Y83H, G326E, G352V, D355N, Q388L and D509Y were predicted to be protective variants that show decreased binding to S-protein. Using biochemical assays, we confirmed that K31R and E37K had decreased affinity, and K26R and T92I variants showed increased affinity for S-protein when compared to wildtype ACE2. Consistent with this, soluble ACE2 K26R and T92I were more effective in blocking entry of S-protein pseudotyped virus suggesting that ACE2 variants can modulate susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics , Mutation, Missense/genetics , Polymorphism, Genetic , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization