Updated: June 12, 2021 9:48:15 am
A new study published in the journal Microbiome describes how SARS-CoV-2 persists on surfaces in hospitals.
Researchers swabbed patient room surfaces before, during and after occupancy, and repeatedly collected samples from the skin, noses and stool of Covid-19 patients and their health care workers over time. In total, they tested 972 hospital-associated samples for traces of SARS-CoV-2 over two months.
Their findings: The virus, or at least its genetic signature, abounds. It was detected on the floors next to the beds of patients with Covid-19 (39% of samples tested), floors outside patient rooms (29%) and surfaces inside the rooms (16%). SARS-CoV-2 detection tended to be highest in the first five days after a patient’s onset of symptoms.
The researchers have stressed that just because they can detect the virus’ unique genetic signatures on a surface, it doesn’t mean the virus is able to infect people.
Since they started the study, it has been well documented that SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily through close human interactions, while surface transmission is likely very rare. None of the healthcare workers caring for patients in the study tested positive for the virus.
The study focused on one hospital, but the researchers expect they would find similar results in any hospital treating patients with Covid-19.
Source: University of California San Diego
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