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Collection of SARS-CoV-2 Virus from the Air of a Clinic Within a University Student Health Care Center and Analyses of the Viral Genomic Sequence.

Abstract

air. To determine whether the virus detected was viable ('live'), attempts were made to isolate the virus in cell cultures. Virus-induced cytopathic effects (CPE) were observed within two days post-inoculation of Vero E6 cells with collection media from air samples; however, rtRT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 vRNA from cell culture were negative. Instead, three other fast-growing human respiratory viruses were isolated and subsequently identified, illustrating the challenge in isolating SARS-CoV-2 when multiple viruses are present in a test sample. The complete SAR-CoV-2 genomic sequence was nevertheless determined by Sanger sequencing and most closely resembles SARS-CoV-2 genomes previously described in Georgia, USA. Results of this study illustrate the feasibility of tracking progression of the COVID-19 pandemic using environmental aerosol samples instead of human specimens. Collection of a positive sample from a distance more than 2 m away from the nearest patient traffic implies the virus was in an aerosol.

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