Krambrich J, Akaberi D, Ling J, Hoffman T, Svensson L, Hagbom M, Lundkvist Å
Virol J 18 (1) 109 [2021-06-02; online 2021-06-02]
The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has spread rapidly worldwide and disease prevention is more important than ever. In the absence of a vaccine, knowledge of the transmission routes and risk areas of infection remain the most important existing tools to prevent further spread. Here we investigated the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the hospital environment at the Uppsala University Hospital Infectious Disease ward by RT-qPCR and determined the infectivity of the detected virus in vitro on Vero E6 cells. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in several areas, although attempts to infect Vero E6 cells with positive samples were unsuccessful. However, RNase A treatment of positive samples prior to RNA extraction did not degrade viral RNA, indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsids or complete virus particles protecting the RNA as opposed to free viral RNA. Our results show that even in places where a moderate concentration (Ct values between 30 and 38) of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found; no infectious virus could be detected. This suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the hospital environment subsides in two states; as infectious and as non-infectious. Future work should investigate the reasons for the non-infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 virions.
Research Area: High-throughput and high-content serology
Ct values for all collected samples at the Uppsala University infectious disease ward