Sumary of Air filter and floor sampling to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in schools:
- A major concern during the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was the possibility that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen responsible for the disease, might spread through surfaces.
- Many previous studies indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 could remain active on surfaces for several days;
- These studies suggested performing environmental monitoring through surface swabs that would help analyze the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Environmental monitoring acts as a complementary tool to reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) tests in identifying the number of infected people cost-effectively.
- A study recently published on the medRxiv* preprint server observed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in five schools (96 classrooms) in Davis, California (USA), by collecting weekly surface-swab samples from classroom floors and/or portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) units.
- Assessment of the environmental sampling strategies This SARS-CoV-2 environmental monitoring study, piloted from January to August 2021 and collected the floor and/or HEPA filter swab samples in five elementary schools.
- To study the efficacy of floor and HEPA-filter samples, the researchers compared SARS-CoV-2 RNA and COVID-19 cases in two of the schools.
- Oral swabs were used to collect samples and RT-qPCR was used to quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
- Before the start of sampling, the detection of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces was validated by using opportunistic sampling in two locations within six days.