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SARS-CoV2 in public spaces in West London UK during COVID-19 pandemic

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Title: SARS-CoV2 in public spaces in West London UK during COVID-19 pandemic
Authors: Abubakkar-Waziri, H
Kalaiarasan, G
Wawman, R
Hobbs, F
Adcock, I
Dilliway, C
Fang, F
Pain, C
Porter, A
Bhavsar, PK
Ransome, E
Savolainen, V
Kumar, P
Chung, KF
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: Spread of SARS-CoV2 by aerosol is considered an important mode of transmission over distances >2 m, particularly indoors. Objectives: We determined whether SARS-CoV2 could be detected in the air of enclosed/semi-enclosed public spaces. Methods and analysis: Between March 2021 and December 2021 during the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions after a period of lockdown, we used total suspended and size-segregated particulate matter (PM) samplers for the detection of SARS-CoV2 in hospitals wards and waiting areas, on public transport, in a university campus and in a primary school in West London. Results: We collected 207 samples, of which 20 (9.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV2 using quantitative PCR. Positive samples were collected from hospital patient waiting areas, from hospital wards treating patients with COVID-19 using stationary samplers and from train carriages in London underground using personal samplers. Mean virus concentrations varied between 429 500 copies/m3 in the hospital emergency waiting area and the more frequent 164 000 copies/m3 found in other areas. There were more frequent positive samples from PM samplers in the PM2.5 fractions compared with PM10 and PM1. Culture on Vero cells of all collected samples gave negative results. Conclusion: During a period of partial opening during the COVID-19 pandemic in London, we detected SARS-CoV2 RNA in the air of hospital waiting areas and wards and of London Underground train carriage. More research is needed to determine the transmission potential of SARS-CoV2 detected in the air.
Issue Date: 18-May-2023
Date of Acceptance: 1-May-2023
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/104335
DOI: 10.1136/bmjresp-2022-001574
ISSN: 2052-4439
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Journal / Book Title: BMJ Open Respiratory Research
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN e001574
Appears in Collections:National Heart and Lung Institute
Imperial College London COVID-19

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