Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: SARS-CoV-2 in residential rooms of two self-isolating persons with COVID-19.

Authors: Nannu Shankar, Sripriya; Witanachchi, Chiran T; Morea, Alyssa F; Lednicky, John A; Loeb, Julia C; Alam, Md Mahbubul; Fan, Z Hugh; Eiguren-Fernandez, Arantzazu; Wu, Chang-Yu

Published In J Aerosol Sci, (2022 Jan)

Abstract: Individuals with COVID-19 are advised to self-isolate at their residences unless they require hospitalization. Persons sharing a dwelling with someone who has COVID-19 have a substantial risk of being exposed to the virus. However, environmental monitoring for the detection of virus in such settings is limited. We present a pilot study on environmental sampling for SARS-CoV-2 virions in the residential rooms of two volunteers with COVID-19 who self-quarantined. Apart from standard surface swab sampling, based on availability, four air samplers positioned 0.3-2.2 m from the volunteers were used: a VIable Virus Aerosol Sampler (VIVAS), an inline air sampler that traps particles on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) filters, a NIOSH 2-stage cyclone sampler (BC-251), and a Sioutas personal cascade impactor sampler (PCIS). The latter two selectively collect particles of specific size ranges. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected by real-time Reverse-Transcription quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-qPCR) analyses of particles in one air sample from the room of volunteer A and in various air and surface samples from that of volunteer B. The one positive sample collected by the NIOSH sampler from volunteer A's room had a quantitation cycle (Cq) of 38.21 for the N-gene, indicating a low amount of airborne virus [5.69E-02 SARS-CoV-2 genome equivalents (GE)/cm3 of air]. In contrast, air samples and surface samples collected off the mobile phone in volunteer B's room yielded Cq values ranging from 14.58 to 24.73 and 21.01 to 24.74, respectively, on the first day of sampling, indicating that this volunteer was actively shedding relatively high amounts of SARS-CoV-2 at that time. The SARS-CoV-2 GE/cm3 of air for the air samples collected by the PCIS was in the range 6.84E+04 to 3.04E+05 using the LED-N primer system, the highest being from the stage 4 filter, and similarly, ranged from 2.54E+03 to 1.68E+05 GE/cm3 in air collected by the NIOSH sampler. Attempts to isolate the virus in cell culture from the samples from volunteer B's room with the aforementioned Cq values were unsuccessful due to out-competition by a co-infecting Human adenovirus B3 (HAdVB3) that killed the Vero E6 cell cultures within 4 days of their inoculation, although Cq values of 34.56-37.32 were measured upon rRT-qPCR analyses of vRNA purified from the cell culture medium. The size distribution of SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosol particles collected from the air of volunteer B's room was >0.25 μm and >0.1 μm as recorded by the PCIS and the NIOSH sampler, respectively, suggesting a risk of aerosol transmission since these particles can remain suspended in air for an extended time and travel over long distances. The detection of virus in surface samples also underscores the potential for fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor settings.

PubMed ID: 34483358 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

to Top