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Detection of Hospital Environmental Contamination During SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Predominance Using a Highly Sensitive Air Sampling Device

16 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2022

See all articles by Kai Sen Tan

Kai Sen Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Alicia Xin Yu Ang

National University of Singapore (NUS) - National University Hospital

Douglas Jie Wen Tay

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Jyoti Somani

National University Hospital, Singapore - Department of Medicine

Alexander Jet Yue Ng

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Emergency Medicine

Li Lee Peng

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Emergency Medicine

Justin Jang Hann Chu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Paul Anantharajah Tambyah

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Infectious Disease Translational Research Programme

David Michael Allen

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Infectious Disease Translational Research Programme

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Abstract

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic causing major healthcare and socio-economic burden. At the same time, the high transmissibility of the virus, which potentially includes an airborne route, has exposed many weaknesses in our current infection control measures. Mass air sampling of viruses had been conducted pre-pandemic to understand their epidemiology. As technologies have improved, aerial sampling has advanced from passive impact filters to active sampling methods using negative pressure to expose culture substrate for subsequent virus detection. As such, we tested the AerosolSenseTM pathogen monitoring device’s ability to to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus in the built environment. In the hospital setting where we conducted the active surveillance, we found the device provided more consistent detection from the air, when compared to surface sampling, with higher sensitivity to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses in as little as 2 hours when combined with RT-qPCR detection. The device also showed that it can identify minute quantities of SARS-CoV-2 virus in designated 'clean areas' and through N95 mask, indicating the suitability of the device for pathogen monitoring in a surveillance capacity. Pathogen detection can also occur in an organism agnostic manner when combined with a multi-pathogen detection panel for surveillance in the hospital, improving our ability to identify nosocomial outbreaks.

Funding Information: This work was supported by the National University Health System, Singapore (Grant NUHSRO/2021/095/NUSMedCovid/11/LOA); Singapore National Medical Research Council (NMRC/CG/M009/2017 NUH/NUHS) and the National University of Singapore (NUS Reimagine Research Grant).

Declaration of Interests: Author PAT reports receiving grants from Roche, Arcturus, Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi Pasteur, and personal fees from AJ Biologicals, outside the submitted work. The remaining authors declare no conflicts of interest. All authors have completed the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest.

Ethics Approval Statement: As there were no direct use of patient samples or identifiers involved, the study was given a waiver of approval by the Domain Specific Review Board (DSRB) of the National Healthcare Group (NHG).

Keywords: Air-sampling, SARS-CoV-2, Omicron, Surveillance, Mass Screening

Suggested Citation

Tan, Kai Sen and Ang, Alicia Xin Yu and Tay, Douglas Jie Wen and Somani, Jyoti and Ng, Alexander Jet Yue and Peng, Li Lee and Chu, Justin Jang Hann and Tambyah, Paul Anantharajah and Allen, David Michael, Detection of Hospital Environmental Contamination During SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Predominance Using a Highly Sensitive Air Sampling Device. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4224520 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4224520

Kai Sen Tan (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology ( email )

Alicia Xin Yu Ang

National University of Singapore (NUS) - National University Hospital ( email )

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Douglas Jie Wen Tay

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology ( email )

Jyoti Somani

National University Hospital, Singapore - Department of Medicine ( email )

Alexander Jet Yue Ng

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Emergency Medicine ( email )

Li Lee Peng

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Emergency Medicine ( email )

Justin Jang Hann Chu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Microbiology and Immunology ( email )

Paul Anantharajah Tambyah

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Infectious Disease Translational Research Programme ( email )

David Michael Allen

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Infectious Disease Translational Research Programme ( email )