Scientists at the Murcian Institute of Biological Health have created a device that can detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on untouched surfaces. A pilot test in a hospital ward has tested one of these “traps” located more than a metre above the patient, and the result was positive, indicating the spread of smoke.
In the spread of COVID-19, the importance of aerosols (the smallest respiratory particles released during exhalation) has caused heated debate among scientists. under these circumstances, Murcia Institute of Biological Health (IMIB) And tested in a real environment (a hospital rather than a laboratory).
Their creators called them “Covid traps,” and they consist of different surfaces or materials contained in boxes with plastic protective nets to prevent patients or medical staff from touching them.Details have been published in the magazine Holistic Environmental Science.
According to the authors, these traps can be used as early detectors of coronavirus on the surface of enclosed and public places (such as health and education centers or indoor recreational places), thus saving many large-scale tests.”
“Trap” is already in box Two-sixths of the patients were confirmed to have covid-19 (although the viral load was different) and were sent to the ICU or “covid” ward. Joan of Arc University Hospital (HCUVA) In Murcia.
After the first 1, 2 and 3 days, the samples were analyzed in the same way as the human nasopharyngeal secretions, namely by PCR testing.
The surface of the “trap” is analyzed by PCR test to detect the presence of the coronavirus. /IMIB
Researchers found two types of surfaces (polypropylene and glass) that were positive for SARS-CoV-2 within 72 hours of installing the device in the room of only one of the six patients.
High aerosol transmission capacity
He said: “This result shows that the transmission capacity of the virus through aerosols is very high. This is because the air in the rooms of Arrixaca Hospital is renewed every minute, and all the air is carried out from outside (not recycled).” Highlight the main author, Esteban OrenesPiñero, Responsible for the IMIB proteomics platform.
He added: “The trap is placed on a window post that is more than one meter away from the patient and higher than the patient’s height.” It cannot be ruled out that the virus is transmitted through another route (such as larger respiratory droplets), but the most normal The situation is Spread by aerosol. We can observe the transmission on these two surfaces, and it is inevitably transmitted through the air, because both are contained in traps and no one can touch them.”
The surface that tested positive was in a patient’s room with a high viral load and a rhinoscope. Another patient with the same viral load but without glasses did not test positive on the surface of the room.
“Through such a small research, we are trying in the second part of the project Nose They may promote the formation of aerosols and promote the spread of viruses,” Orenes said.
So far, previous studies have analyzed the stability of different coronaviruses on the surface, but in these cases, an aerosol or inoculum containing the coronavirus has been artificially produced to create an infectious environment. According to the researchers, this is the first study to detect covid-19 not only in the laboratory but also under real conditions.
Application in enclosed and public spaces
Orenes explained: “Although this is a pilot study, the results are optimistic, because these traps can be used for early detection of the virus in closed and public places (such as hospitals, schools, research institutes, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, etc.). Detection. In this way, This can save a lot of time and money Measure in these places to avoid large-scale testing and early detection of the presence of viruses. Therefore, the site should be closed to avoid new infections.”
This study was carried out with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Region of Murcia and HCUVA health personnel. The recommendation supports the recommendation of frequent disinfection of the epidermis of hospitalized patients to prevent infections in the hands, nose, nose and nosocomial. personnel.
“In the same way, these recommendations should also be transferred to other populations to avoid new infections and hygiene measures, such as handwashing Ø wear maskRecall the author.
Orenes concluded: “The main novelty of this study is that it demonstrates the high transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor aerosols. So far, there has been a lot of controversy regarding this type of transmission. Research can help clarify or clarify this controversy.”
“Evidence of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus indoors using several untouched surfaces: a pilot study.” Holistic Environmental Science, 2020.
In addition to the head of the IMIB proteomics platform, the chemical engineer Francisco Baño is one of them; Diana Navas of the Surgical Services Department of HLA La Vega Hospital in Murcia; Antonio Moreno of the Virology Services Department of HCUVA; Juana María Marín of the Emergency Services Department of HCUVA; Rocío Misiego , A doctor from the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette (USA), and Pablo Ramírez, is the head of HCUVA general and digestive surgery services and the scientific director of IMIB. In addition, the research team would like to thank the Murcia Ministry of Health for the support of the General Directorate of Planning, Research, Pharmacy and Citizen Services.