Meta-study: every third sample in hospitals positive


This fear also prevents many patients with other illnesses from visiting the hospital. French scientists are now reporting in the journal “Jama Network Open” that air samples from intensive care units, corridors and toilets can be contaminated – however, the particles of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen are usually not viable. Gabriel Birgand’s team from the Nantes University Hospital evaluated 24 studies for the meta-analysis, four of which were unpublished. One paper from Great Britain and one from Italy are the only studies from Europe. Ten studies come from China. The respective researchers analyzed the viral load in the air in different hospital areas using PCR methods. In those areas frequented by patients, a good every sixth sample was positive – 82 of 471 samples (17.4 percent).

Accordingly, over 25 percent of the samples in intensive care units were contaminated, compared to almost 11 percent in other wards. The highest percentage of positive samples came from publicly accessible corridors (56 percent) – although only 16 samples were taken there. In general, every third sample (33.3 percent) from public clinical areas was positive.

However, the authors emphasize that it is usually unclear whether the virus residues in the positive samples were infectious or not. Virus cultures were only created in five studies, cultivation was only successful in 7 of 81 attempts (8.6 percent).


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