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1.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0257963, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608831

ABSTRACT

In times of crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain of filtering facepiece respirators, such as N95 respirators, are disrupted. To combat shortages of N95 respirators, many institutions were forced to decontaminate and reuse respirators. While several reports have evaluated the impact on filtration as a measurement of preservation of respirator function after decontamination, the equally important fact of maintaining proper fit to the users' face has been understudied. In the current study, we demonstrate the complete inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and preservation of fit test performance of N95 respirators following treatment with dry heat. We apply scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements, Raman spectroscopy, and contact angle measurements to analyze filter material changes as a consequence of different decontamination treatments. We further compared the integrity of the respirator after autoclaving versus dry heat treatment via quantitative fit testing and found that autoclaving, but not dry heat, causes the fit of the respirator onto the users face to fail, thereby rendering the decontaminated respirator unusable. Our findings highlight the importance to account for both efficacy of disinfection and mask fit when reprocessing respirators to for clinical redeployment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , N95 Respirators/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/transmission , Equipment and Supplies , Health Personnel , Hot Temperature , Humans , Pandemics
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(24)2021 12 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593103

ABSTRACT

Exoskeletons and exosuits (exos) are wearable devices that physically assist movement. User comfort is critically important for societal adoption of exos. Thermal comfort (a person's satisfaction with their thermal environment) represents a key design challenge. Exos must physically attach/interface to the body to apply forces, and these interfaces inevitably trap some heat. It is envisioned that thermal comfort could be improved by designing mode-switching exo interfaces that temporarily loosen around a body segment when assistive forces are not being applied. To inform exo design, a case series study (N = 4) based on single-subject design principles was performed. Our objective was to assess individual responses to skin temperature and thermal comfort during physical activity with a Loose leg-sleeve interface compared with a Form-Fitting one, and immediately after a Form-Fitting sleeve switched to Loose. Skin under the Loose sleeve was 2-3 °C (4-6 °F) cooler after 25 min of physical activity, and two of four participants reported the Loose sleeve improved their thermal comfort. After completion of the physical activity, the Form-Fitting sleeve was loosened, causing a 2-4 °C (3-8 °F) drop in skin temperature underneath for all participants, and two participants to report slightly improved thermal comfort. These findings confirmed that an exo that can quickly loosen its interface when assistance is not required-and re-tighten when it is- has the potential to enhance thermal comfort for some individuals and environments. More broadly, this study demonstrates that mode-switching mechanisms in exos can do more than adjust physical assistance: they can also exploit thermodynamics and facilitate thermoregulation in a way that enhances comfort for exo users.


Subject(s)
Exoskeleton Device , Body Temperature Regulation , Exercise , Hot Temperature , Humans , Skin Temperature
3.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0255338, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518352

ABSTRACT

Global shortages of N95 respirators have led to an urgent need of N95 decontamination and reuse methods that are scientifically validated and available world-wide. Although several large scale decontamination methods have been proposed (hydrogen peroxide vapor, UV-C); many of them are not applicable in remote and low-resource settings. Heat with humidity has been demonstrated as a promising decontamination approach, but care must be taken when implementing this method at a grassroots level. Here we present a simple, scalable method to provide controlled humidity and temperature for individual N95 respirators which is easily applicable in low-resource settings. N95 respirators were subjected to moist heat (>50% relative humidity, 65-80°C temperature) for over 30 minutes by placing them in a sealed container immersed in water that had been brought to a rolling boil and removed from heat, and then allowing the containers to sit for over 45 minutes. Filtration efficiency of 0.3-4.99 µm incense particles remained above 97% after 5 treatment cycles across all particle size sub-ranges. This method was then repeated at a higher ambient temperature and humidity in Mumbai, using standard utensils commonly found in South Asia. Similar temperature and humidity profiles were achieved with no degradation in filtration efficiencies after 6 cycles. Higher temperatures (>70°C) and longer treatment times (>40 minutes) were obtained by insulating the outer vessel. We also showed that the same method can be applied for the decontamination of surgical masks. This simple yet reliable method can be performed even without electricity access using any heat source to boil water, from open-flame stoves to solar heating, and provides a low-cost route for N95 decontamination globally applicable in resource-constrained settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse/statistics & numerical data , Hot Temperature , Humidity , Masks/standards , N95 Respirators/standards , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Filtration , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Sensors (Basel) ; 21(22)2021 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512571

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a large amount of challenges to address. To combat the spread of the virus, several safety measures, such as wearing face masks, have been taken. Temperature controls at the entrance of public places to prevent the entry of virus carriers have been shown to be inefficient and inaccurate. This paper presents a smart mask that allows to monitor body temperature and breathing rate. Body temperature is measured by a non-invasive dual-heat-flux system, consisting of four sensors separated from each other with an insulating material. Breathing rate is obtained from the temperature changes within the mask, measured with a thermistor located near the nose. The system communicates by means of long-range (LoRa) backscattering, leading to a reduction in average power consumption. It is designed to establish the relative location of the smart mask from the signal received at two LoRa receivers installed inside and outside an access door. Low-cost LoRa transceivers with WiFi capabilities are used in the prototype to collect information and upload it to a server. Accuracy in body temperature measurements is consistent with measurements made with a thermistor located in the armpit. The system allows checking the correct placement of the mask based on the recorded temperatures and the breathing rate measurements. Besides, episodes of cough can be detected by sudden changes in thermistor temperature.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Masks , Delivery of Health Care , Hot Temperature , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512301

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Heat waves are correlated with increased mortality in the aged population. Social isolation is known as a vulnerability factor. This study aims at evaluating the correlation between an intervention to reduce social isolation and the increase in mortality in the population over 80 during heat waves. METHODS: This study adopted a retrospective ecologic design. We compared the excess mortality rate (EMR) in the over-80 population during heat waves in urban areas of Rome (Italy) where a program to reduce social isolation was implemented, to others where it was not implemented. We measured the mortality of the summer periods from 2015 to 2019 compared with 2014 (a year without heat waves). Winter mortality, cadastral income, and the proportion of people over 90 were included in the multivariate Poisson regression. RESULTS: The EMR in the intervention and controls was 2.70% and 3.81%, respectively. The rate ratio was 0.70 (c.i. 0.54-0.92, p-value 0.01). The incidence rate ratio (IRR) of the interventions, with respect to the controls, was 0.76 (c.i. 0.59-0.98). After adjusting for other variables, the IRR was 0.44 (c.i. 0.32-0.60). CONCLUSIONS: Reducing social isolation could limit the impact of heat waves on the mortality of the elderly population.


Subject(s)
Hot Temperature , Social Isolation , Aged , Humans , Incidence , Retrospective Studies , Seasons
6.
ScientificWorldJournal ; 2021: 9342748, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495720

ABSTRACT

Background: Recently, an outbreak of a novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has become a world health concern leading to severe respiratory tract infections in humans. Virus transmission occurs through person-to-person contact, respiratory droplets, and contaminated hands or surfaces. Accordingly, we aim at reviewing the literature on all information available about the persistence of coronaviruses, including human and animal coronaviruses, on inanimate surfaces and inactivation strategies with biocides employed for chemical and physical disinfection. Method: A comprehensive search was systematically conducted in main databases from 1998 to 2020 to identify various viral disinfectants associated with HCoV and methods for control and prevention of this newly emerged virus. Results: The analysis of 62 studies shows that human coronaviruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV), canine coronavirus (CCV), transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) can be efficiently inactivated by physical and chemical disinfectants at different concentrations (70, 80, 85, and 95%) of 2-propanol (70 and 80%) in less than or equal to 60 s and 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Additionally, glutaraldehyde (0.5-2%), formaldehyde (0.7-1%), and povidone-iodine (0.1-0.75%) could readily inactivate coronaviruses. Moreover, dry heat at 56°C, ultraviolet light dose of 0.2 to 140 J/cm2, and gamma irradiation could effectively inactivate coronavirus. The WHO recommends the use of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution or an ethanol-based disinfectant with an ethanol concentration between 62% and 71%. Conclusion: The results of the present study can help researchers, policymakers, health decision makers, and people perceive and take the correct measures to control and prevent further transmission of COVID-19. Prevention and decontamination will be the main ways to stop the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Disinfectants/pharmacology , Disinfection/instrumentation , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Inactivation/drug effects , 2-Propanol/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus, Canine/drug effects , Disinfection/methods , Ethanol/pharmacology , Formaldehyde/pharmacology , Gamma Rays , Glutaral/pharmacology , Hot Temperature , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Murine hepatitis virus/drug effects , Povidone-Iodine/pharmacology , SARS Virus/drug effects , Sodium Hypochlorite/pharmacology , Transmissible gastroenteritis virus/drug effects , Ultraviolet Rays
8.
Int J Pharm ; 605: 120818, 2021 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1457706

ABSTRACT

During pandemics and global crises, drug shortages become critical as a result of increased demand, shortages in personnel and lockdown restrictions that disrupt the supply chain. The pharmaceutical industry is therefore moving towards continuous manufacturing instead of conventional batch manufacturing involving numerous steps, that normally occur at different sites. In order to validate the use of large-scale industrial processes, feasibility studies need to be performed using small-scale laboratory equipment. To that end, the scale-up of a continuous process and its effect on the critical quality attributes (CQAs) of the end product were investigated in this work. Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate (HCQS) was used as the model drug, Soluplus® as a model polymeric carrier and both horizontal and vertical twin screw extruders used to undertake this hot melt extrusion (HME) study. Seven formulations were processed using a small-scale horizontal extruder and a pilot-scale vertical extruder at various drug loadings, temperature profiles and screw speeds. When utilising a horizontal extruder, formulations with the highest drug load and processed at the lowest screw speed and temperature had the highest crystallinity with higher drug release rates. Upon scale-up to a vertical extruder, the crystallinity of the HCQS was significantly reduced, with less variation in both crystallinity and release profile across the different extrudates. This study demonstrates improved robustness with the pilot-scale vertical extruder compared to lab-scale horizontal extruder. The reduced variation with the vertical extruder will allow for short increases in production rate, with minimum impact on the CQAs of the final product enabling high-performance continuous manufacturing with minimum waste of raw materials. Finally, this research provides valuable information for the pharmaceutical industry in accessing continuous technologies for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, allowing for efficient utilisation of resources upon scale-up and mass production during global pandemics and drug shortages.


Subject(s)
Hot Melt Extrusion Technology , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Chemistry, Pharmaceutical , Drug Compounding , Hot Temperature , Hydroxychloroquine , Pandemics , Technology, Pharmaceutical
9.
Am J Public Health ; 111(8): 1443-1447, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456160

ABSTRACT

To investigate how heat-health behaviors changed in summer 2020 compared with previous summers, our community-academic partnership conducted telephone surveys to collect data on cooling behaviors, safety concerns, and preferences for cooling alternatives for 101 participants living in Alabama. Participants indicating they would visit cooling centers declined from 23% in previous summers to 10% in summer 2020. The use of cooling centers and other public spaces may be less effective in reducing heat-related illness because of safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic and police brutality.


Subject(s)
African Americans/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Behavior , Heat Stress Disorders/prevention & control , Hot Temperature , Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data , Alabama , COVID-19/psychology , Housing , Humans
10.
Environ Sci Process Impacts ; 23(1): 144-159, 2021 Feb 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454824

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown in India for months when close to 1.3 billion people were confined to their homes. An abrupt halt in the majority of the urban activities reduced the generation of anthropogenic heat which often exacerbates the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in the urban pockets of the country. We studied the lockdown impact on seven highly populated and polluted mega urban agglomerations across India, namely Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, using near-anniversary Landsat 8 data. The results revealed that the lockdowns have improved the air quality and reduced the Land Surface Temperature (LST) and hence the UHI effect over these cities. Each of the cities experienced an improved Air Quality Index (AQI) ranging from 18 to 151 units except Chennai (with a marginal 8 units increase in AQI), a decrease in mean LST in the range of 0.27 °C to 7.06 °C except Kolkata which showed an increment by ∼4 °C, and a reduction in daily averaged air temperature ranging from 0.3 °C to 10.88 °C except Hyderabad which witnessed an increase of 0.09 °C during the lockdown (April 2020) compared to the previous years (April 2019 and 2018). Delhi exhibited the maximum positive impact of the lockdown in all aspects with two-fold improved air quality, and Ahmedabad showed the least improvement. In addition to the variations in regional land use and land cover and proportion of essential industries that remained operational throughout the lockdown, the geographic location, topography, local meteorology and climate were some of the other factors also responsible for either aiding or overcompensating the large scale LST variabilities observed in these cities. These results hint at an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of periodic planned lockdowns as a possible mitigating measure to reduce LST spikes and degraded air quality in urban areas in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hot Temperature , Cities , Communicable Disease Control , Environmental Monitoring , Humans , India , Islands , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Temperature
11.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19750, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454812

ABSTRACT

N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are essential for the protection of healthcare professionals and other high-risk groups against Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19). In response to shortages in FFRs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization permitting FFR decontamination and reuse. However, although industrial decontamination services are available at some large institutions, FFR decontamination is not widely accessible. To be effective, FFR decontamination must (1) inactivate the virus; (2) preserve FFR integrity, specifically fit and filtering capability; and (3) be non-toxic and safe. Here we identify and test at-home heat-based methods for FFR decontamination that meet these requirements using common household appliances. Our results identify potential protocols for simple and accessible FFR decontamination, while also highlighting unsuitable methods that may jeopardize FFR integrity.


Subject(s)
Decontamination/methods , N95 Respirators , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Hot Temperature , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Time Factors
12.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444215

ABSTRACT

Oxygen production in cryogenic air separation units is related to a significant carbon footprint and its supply in the medicinal sphere became critical during the recent COVID-19 crisis. An improved unit design was proposed, utilizing a part of waste heat produced during air pre-cooling and intercooling via absorption coolers, to reduce power consumption. Variable ambient air humidity impact on compressed air dryers' regeneration was also considered. A steady-state process simulation of a model 500 t h-1 inlet cryogenic air separation unit was performed in Aspen Plus® V11. Comparison of a model without and with absorption coolers yielded an achievable reduction in power consumption for air compression and air dryer regeneration by 6 to 9% (23 to 33 GWh year-1) and a favorable simple payback period of 4 to 10 years, both depending on air pressure loss in additional heat exchangers to be installed. The resulting specific oxygen production decrease amounted to EUR 2-4.2 t-1. Emissions of major gaseous pollutants from power production were both calculated by an in-house developed thermal power plant model and adopted from literature. A power consumption cut was translated into the following annual greenhouse gas emission reduction: CO2 16 to 30 kilotons, CO 0.3 to 2.3 tons, SOx 4.7 to 187 tons and NOx 11 to 56 tons, depending on applied fossil fuel-based emission factors. Considering a more renewable energy sources-containing energy mix, annual greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 50 to over 80%, varying for individual pollutants.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Greenhouse Gases , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , Greenhouse Effect , Hot Temperature , Humans , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
13.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e047328, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443591

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Globally, there are increasing cases of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin among heat-exposed workers. We aimed to see the kidney damages of indoor heat-exposed workers and whether urine specific gravity can predict any kidney damages. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. SETTING: A shoe-making factory in West Java, Indonesia. PARTICIPANTS: 119 subjects were included. Minimum total sample size was 62. Subjects were indoor heat-exposed workers who were exposed to occupational wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) of 28°C-30°C for 8 hours daily with 1 hour break, 5 days a week. The inclusion criterion was healthy subjects according to the result from annual medical check-up in 2019. The exclusion criteria were subjects who were taking vitamins and/or supplements that might cause disturbance in urine specific gravity and/or hydration status, pregnant and fasting. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity and specificity of urine specific gravity for the detection of urinary nephrin and urinary kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) were analysed. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and quantitative albuminuria were also measured. RESULTS: WBGT in the work area of the subject was 28°C-30°C. There were 15 (12.6%) subjects who had eGFR <90 mL/min, but ≥60 mL/min. High serum vasopressin levels were found in 79 subjects with a mean of 6.54 (95% CI 5.94 to 7.14) ng/mL. Most subjects had nephrinuria (87.4%) with preserved renal function (87.4%). Several subjects had elevated urinary KIM-1 (10.9%) and albuminuria (7.6%). AUC of urine specific gravity for increased urinary nephrin was 81.7% (95% CI 68.8% to 94.6%) and statistically significant (p<0.001). Cut-off value of ≥1.018 for urine specific gravity has sensitivity of 71.2% and specificity of 80% for detecting elevation of urinary nephrin levels. CONCLUSION: Urine specific gravity with a cut-off value of ≥1.018 could be used to detect nephrinuria among heat-exposed workers.


Subject(s)
Heat Stress Disorders , Occupational Exposure , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic , Cross-Sectional Studies , Hot Temperature , Humans , Indonesia , Kidney , Occupational Exposure/adverse effects , Occupational Exposure/analysis , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/diagnosis , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/etiology , Specific Gravity
14.
Front Public Health ; 9: 712481, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430745

ABSTRACT

Background: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an essential component of safely treating suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients. PPE acts as a barrier to heat loss, therefore increasing the risk of thermal strain which may impact on cognitive function. Healthcare workers (HCWs) need to be able to prioritize and execute complex tasks effectively to ensure patient safety. This study evaluated pre-cooling and per-cooling methods on thermal strain, thermal comfort and cognitive function during simulated emergency management of an acutely unwell patient. Methods: This randomized controlled crossover trial was run at the Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Unit The Gambia. Each participant attended two sessions (Cool and Control) in standard PPE. Cool involved pre-cooling with an ice slurry ingestion and per-cooling by wearing an ice-vest external to PPE. Results: Twelve participants completed both sessions. There was a significant increase in tympanic temperature in Control sessions at both 1 and 2 h in PPE (p = 0.01). No significant increase was seen during Cool. Effect estimate of Cool was -0.2°C (95% CI -0.43; 0.01, p = 0.06) post 1 h and -0.28°C (95% CI -0.57; 0.02, p = 0.06) post 2 h on tympanic temperature. Cool improved thermal comfort (p < 0.001), thermal sensation (p < 0.001), and thirst (p = 0.04). No difference on cognitive function was demonstrated using multilevel modeling. Discussion: Thermal strain in HCWs wearing PPE can be safely reduced using pre- and per-cooling methods external to PPE.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Personal Protective Equipment , Health Personnel , Hot Temperature , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Environ Int ; 157: 106850, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415386

ABSTRACT

Cities are centres of innovation and wealth creation, but also hotspots of air pollution and noise, heat island effects and lack of green space, which are all detrimental to human health. They are also hotspots of COVID19. COVID19 has led to a rethink of urban public space. Therefore, is it time to re-think our urban models and reduce the health burden? We provide a narrative meta-review around a number of cutting edge and visionary urban models that that may affect health and that have been reported over the past few years. New urban concepts such as the Superblocks, the low traffic neighbourhood, 15 Minute city, Car free city or a mixture of these that may go some way in reducing the health burden related to current urban and transport practices. They will reduce air pollution and noise, heat island effects and increase green space and physical activity levels. What is still lacking though is a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of the schemes and the impacts on not only health, but also liveability and sustainability, although they are expected to be positive. Finally, the COVID19 pandemic may accelerate these developments and stimulus funding like the EU Next Generation funding should be used to make these changes.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Air Pollution/prevention & control , Cities , City Planning , Exercise , Hot Temperature , Humans , Noise , Parks, Recreational , SARS-CoV-2
16.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0256813, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410652

ABSTRACT

There is a worldwide need for reagents to perform SARS-CoV-2 detection. Some laboratories have implemented kit-free protocols, but many others do not have the capacity to develop these and/or perform manual processing. We provide multiple workflows for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection in clinical samples by comparing several commercially available RNA extraction methods: QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit (QIAgen), RNAdvance Blood/Viral (Beckman) and Mag-Bind Viral DNA/RNA 96 Kit (Omega Bio-tek). We also compared One-step RT-qPCR reagents: TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (FastVirus, ThermoFisher Scientific), qPCRBIO Probe 1-Step Go Lo-ROX (PCR Biosystems) and Luna® Universal Probe One-Step RT-qPCR Kit (Luna, NEB). We used primer-probes that detect viral N (EUA CDC) and RdRP. RNA extraction methods provided similar results, with Beckman performing better with our primer-probe combinations. Luna proved most sensitive although overall the three reagents did not show significant differences. N detection was more reliable than that of RdRP, particularly in samples with low viral titres. Importantly, we demonstrated that heat treatment of nasopharyngeal swabs at 70°C for 10 or 30 min, or 90°C for 10 or 30 min (both original variant and B 1.1.7) inactivated SARS-CoV-2 employing plaque assays, and had minimal impact on the sensitivity of the qPCR in clinical samples. These findings make SARS-CoV-2 testing portable in settings that do not have CL-3 facilities. In summary, we provide several testing pipelines that can be easily implemented in other laboratories and have made all our protocols and SOPs freely available at https://osf.io/uebvj/.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Hot Temperature , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Inactivation , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Epidemics/prevention & control , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , Reproducibility of Results , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling/methods , Workflow
17.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0255148, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405336

ABSTRACT

The widespread use of facemasks throughout the population is recommended by the WHO to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As some regions of the world are facing mask shortages, reuse may be necessary. However, used masks are considered as a potential hazard that may spread and transmit disease if they are not decontaminated correctly and systematically before reuse. As a result, the inappropriate decontamination practices that are commonly witnessed in the general public are challenging management of the epidemic at a large scale. To achieve public acceptance and implementation, decontamination procedures need to be low-cost and simple. We propose the use of hot hygroscopic materials to decontaminate non-medical facemasks in household settings. We report on the inactivation of a viral load on a facial mask exposed to hot hygroscopic materials for 15 minutes. As opposed to recent academic studies whereby decontamination is achieved by maintaining heat and humidity above a given value, a more flexible procedure is proposed here using a slow decaying pattern, which is both effective and easier to implement, suggesting straightforward public deployment and hence reliable implementation by the population.


Subject(s)
Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse/standards , Masks/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hot Temperature , Humans , Humidity , SARS-CoV-2
18.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(36): 14748-14765, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397838

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for platform technologies enabling rapid development of vaccines for emerging viral diseases. The current vaccines target the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and thus far have shown tremendous efficacy. However, the need for cold-chain distribution, a prime-boost administration schedule, and the emergence of variants of concern (VOCs) call for diligence in novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine approaches. We studied 13 peptide epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 and identified three neutralizing epitopes that are highly conserved among the VOCs. Monovalent and trivalent COVID-19 vaccine candidates were formulated by chemical conjugation of the peptide epitopes to cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) nanoparticles and virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from bacteriophage Qß. Efficacy of this approach was validated first using soluble vaccine candidates as solo or trivalent mixtures and subcutaneous prime-boost injection. The high thermal stability of our vaccine candidates allowed for formulation into single-dose injectable slow-release polymer implants, manufactured by melt extrusion, as well as microneedle (MN) patches, obtained through casting into micromolds, for prime-boost self-administration. Immunization of mice yielded high titers of antibodies against the target epitope and S protein, and data confirms that antibodies block receptor binding and neutralize SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 against infection of human cells. We present a nanotechnology vaccine platform that is stable outside the cold-chain and can be formulated into delivery devices enabling single administration or self-administration. CPMV or Qß VLPs could be stockpiled, and epitopes exchanged to target new mutants or emergent diseases as the need arises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Delayed-Action Preparations/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit/metabolism , Animals , Comovirus , Computer Simulation , Drug Compounding , Epitopes/chemistry , Hot Temperature , Humans , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Peptides/chemistry , Vaccination , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/chemistry
19.
Elife ; 102021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389776

ABSTRACT

Ambient temperature and humidity strongly affect inactivation rates of enveloped viruses, but a mechanistic, quantitative theory of these effects has been elusive. We measure the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on an inert surface at nine temperature and humidity conditions and develop a mechanistic model to explain and predict how temperature and humidity alter virus inactivation. We find SARS-CoV-2 survives longest at low temperatures and extreme relative humidities (RH); median estimated virus half-life is >24 hr at 10°C and 40% RH, but ∼1.5 hr at 27°C and 65% RH. Our mechanistic model uses fundamental chemistry to explain why inactivation rate increases with increased temperature and shows a U-shaped dependence on RH. The model accurately predicts existing measurements of five different human coronaviruses, suggesting that shared mechanisms may affect stability for many viruses. The results indicate scenarios of high transmission risk, point to mitigation strategies, and advance the mechanistic study of virus transmission.


Subject(s)
Hot Temperature , Humidity , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Virus Inactivation , COVID-19 , Humans
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