Coronavirus qPCR (COVID-19)

SURFACE TESTING

Environmental Surface Testing for COVID-19
Keeping Covid-19 Safe

When determining how to ensure that an individual or business is COVID-19 safe, three key factors need to be considered.

1​.

How likely is that
a COVID -19 carrier will enter the premises?

2.

How likely is 

transmission from

a carrier?

3.

Will the carrier inform us if they have confirmed positive?

​Although implementation and maintained social distancing regulations with PPE coverage are in place, new research has shown that viral droplets remain dormant and waiting for a new source of re-hydration on surfaces for several hours and often days, and this has been investigated as a possible avenue of exposure.

 Covid-19 Surface Test can provide important information required for keeping COVID safe.  All industries where customers have a very high chance of transmitting an infection, but where customers may not necessarily inform you that they have tested positive for Covid-19, such as  Retail Stores, Hotels, Airlines,  Restaurants, Pubs & Bars, Care Homes, Schools, Cinemas, Leisure Clubs,  etc. should consider having this test on a regular basis. 

  

GPs, Veterinarians, and Dentists should also consider testing surfaces, as it will assist with ‘track and trace’ methods, and allow for individuals who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive environment to be identified and isolated.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)qPCR 
SURFACE TESTING

Our latest service offers the availability to test surfaces for Coronavirus (COVID-19).   We have teamed with the largest independent supplier of Contract Sterilisation in the United Kingdom and Ireland which provides a range of Testing Kits, Sampling, and Analysis for over 300 international and UK organisations including; Multinational Pharmaceuticals, Med-Tech Companies, Venture Capital-Backed Start-ups, Hospitals, and Private Clinics. 

By having a UK purpose built virology test suite, they are one of the first laboratories in Europe to provide a unique environmental surface Coronavirus identification service.  The results will not just indicate the presence of COVID-19 but also the amount collected,  giving an indication of how heavily infected a surface is and the likelihood of fomite transmission. This service, will provide a valuable addition to our existing environmental testing capabilities and assist in the long term fight to keep our population safe from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We can provide 2 day results on the virus’s presence/ quantity on any surface. The new testing capabilities allow workplaces / public places to test for suspected Coronavirus contamination and check to ensure their cleaning processes are providing sufficient disinfection.

1.

TEST KIT

Our fully trained Infection Control Technician will arrive in full PPE with the Test Kit; DNA-free swab, viral medium, transport box. Our Technician will swab the visually clean high risk surface areas.

2.

SWAB & RECORD

Our Technician will place the test swab into the viral medium and seal in the transport box.  They will complete the lab request form recording the details of areas swabbed.

3.

SHIPPING

The Technician will remove the transport box and ship by next day courier to the UK lab for processing.

4.

QPCR ANALYSIS

 

qPCR analyses the swab sample for presence/absence of Covid-19 RNA 
Samples are tested utilising a qPCR system.

5.

TEST RESULTS

 

The laboratory will report results directly to our clients
within 2 days of the sample arriving in the laboratory. 
Test results will be sent via email with a copy to Oxytise

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PURPOSE OF TEST

The test looks for the RNA of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in very small quantities left on surfaces as a result of fomite transmission. It is not known the volume of COVID-19 required to cause an infection, or the number of infections caused by touching surfaces that have residual Coronavirus (COVID-19) left on them. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 can survive up to 9 days on surfaces such as plastic, metal and glass, and up to 5 days on wooden surfaces. The virus’s viability on these surfaces poses a significant threat via fomite transmission.

By testing surfaces in areas where high risk patients stay, and / or where there are high volumes of human interactions, health & safety managers are able to better coordinate their cleaning regimes to reduce the levels of COVID-19 on surfaces or to verify that existing cleaning regimes have been successful.

Coronavirus Surface Testing Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Procedures For Testing and Reporting of Samples?


At the UKAS accredited laboratory, the samples will be tested utilising a qPCR system, which is one of the two accepted systems by World Health Organisation (WHO) for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Note that due to the recent introduction of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) test, it is currently not part of our UKAS scope of accreditation. However, the test and equipment has been accepted by the MHRA as a suitable PCR test and is widely used by the NHS to test human samples.

The qPCR process looks for Coronavirus (COVID-19) RNA in the sample media. It is a highly accurate test which specifically detects strands of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The test will return a level of Coronavirus (COVID-19) found on the swab accurate to less than 100 strands of RNA due to dilution of the sample during testing. To gain a further insight into the level of surface contamination, the test also gives a result of how much Coronavirus (COVID-19) is present.

We look to report the results within 2-3days of the test samples arriving at the laboratory. The test results will be sent by email and test results will indicate the presence or absence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the areas tested by the customer.

(All of the components required for this test have been sourced in the UK and we would like to issue our thanks to the companies who have made the consumables available so we can offer this test)




What is qPCR?


Our qPCR tests provide information on the presence or absence of a targeted microbe, they do not however provide insight into the organism’s viability, therefore if DNA is detected we can also offer the standard cultured procedure. qPCR Testing:

  • PCR or polymerase chain reaction is a method in molecular biology to amplify specific segments of DNA.
  • The amplified DNA (amplicon) is copied exponentially to generate thousands to millions of copies of target DNA.
  • This process is used to for genome mapping, DNA fingerprinting, detecting bacteria or viruses and diagnosing genetic disorders.
Advantages of qPCR
  • Very high priming efficiencies of >95%
  • Accuracy of bacterial assessment
  • Reduction in waiting time for customers
  • Rapid same-day turnaround
  • An excellent tool used to identify dangerous waterborne pathogens in cooperation with healthcare management systems.
qPCR Coronavirus Surface Testing

Our latest service offers the availability to test surfaces for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The test looks for the RNA of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in very small quantities left on surfaces as a result of fomite transmission. It is not known the volume of COVID-19 required to cause an infection, or the number of infections caused by touching surfaces, that have residual Coronavirus (COVID-19) left on them. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 can survive up to 9 days on surfaces such as plastic, metal and glass, and up to 5 days on wooden surfaces. Our results will not just indicate the presence of COVID-19 but also the amount collected, giving indication of how heavily infected a surface is and the likelihood of fomite transmission. By testing surfaces in areas of high risk, and or where, there are high volumes of human interactions H & S managers are able to better coordinate their cleaning regimes to reduce the levels of COVID-19 on surfaces or to verify that existing cleaning regimes have been successful.




Why Do You Test For Coronavirus On Surfaces?


Surface testing can be used for a number of reasons; To verify that a contaminated area is now safe to use To check that cleaning policies are effectively being implemented To get an understanding of the level of risk for a location with high traffic passing through such as an airport, supermarket or train station - as customers may not necessarily inform you that they have tested positive for Covid-19 As an indication of community based-infection rates by continually checking a set high profile traffic location. This can be seen as alternative to sewage testing.




How is Coronavirus Spread?


The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA details that while direct contact via respiratory droplets is believed to be the main cause of transmission, there is a possibility for transmission via aerosols and surfaces. The CDC recommends that any surface that has been within 2 metres of an infected person should be disinfected if it is to be used within the next 7 days. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html A recent article from South Korea examining an outbreak at a call centre showed that sustained proximity with a carrier was required in most cases to create an infection but not always. Whether this was via the air or surfaces or both was not identified. The study was also interesting in showing that the number of asymptomatic carriers in the outbreak was only 5% and that none of the asymptomatic carriers infected anyone in their household. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-1274_article An article from Malaysia emphasised how quickly the virus can spread over a few days of close proximity. In 3 days; up to 500 people during a gathering at a mosque, caught the virus from only a few initial carriers. The gathering included holding hands, standing shoulder to shoulder and sharing food. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-mosque-covid-19-mass-pilgrimage-12549256




On What Surfaces Do You Find Coronavirus?


A recent study at a Wuhan hospital handling COVID patients looked at different items for coronavirus. The most contaminated items were computer mice, followed by the floor, waste bins and patient bed hand rails. The study did not indicate the level of coronavirus found but only its presence and was also only undertaken in wards and the ICU of a hospital and not in a wider area. The level of positive samples results was as high as 75% for computer mice in the ICU. Another study of patient rooms in Singapore also found coronavirus in the environment with 61% samples positive in a room prior to cleaning. The positive samples included door handles, patient bed rails, toilet bowl and floor.
The high level of contamination of the computer mice suggests that the virus is transmitted by the hands as well as through the air. The studies also show that properly disinfected surfaces will be clear of the virus. Aerosol and Surface Distribution of SARS Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China 2020. Guo et al. (China) 2020 Air, Surface Environmental and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by SARS Coronavirus 2 From a Symptomatic Patient. Ong, Tan, Chia, Lee, Ng, Wong and Marimuthu (Singapore) 2020




How Long Does Coronavirus Last On Surfaces?


Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 can survive up to 9 days on surfaces such as plastic, metal and glass, and up to 5 days on wooden surfaces. The virus’s viability on these surfaces poses a significant threat via fomite transmission. Overall, the studies have shown that on hard surfaces such as steel, plastic or glass at 20°C room temperature the virus will remain in a collectable form for about 5 - 9 days. This time will be shorter for fabrics and paper. A rise in temperature will accelerate the decay but at 4°C, which is equivalent to a fridge the virus may last for a month. Persistence of coronavirus on Inaminate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. Kampf, Todt, Pfaender, Steinmann (Germany) 2020 Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. Van Doremalen, Morris, Holbrook, Gamble, Williamson, Tamin, Harcourt, Thornburg, Gerber, Lloyd-Smith. De Wit, Munster (USA) 2020 The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus. Chan, Peiris, Lam, Poon, Yuen, Seto. (Hong Kong) 2010 Human Coronavirus 229E Remains Infectious on Common Touch Surface Materials. Warnes, Little and Keevil. (UK) 2015




What Level Of Dose Of Coronavirus Is Safe On a Surface?


There is no clear data on the level of Coronavirus required to start an infection, which is known as the minimum infectious dose. The high rate of transmission of COVID suggests that it is fairly low. Studies on flu, which is also highly infectious, have shown that around 1,000 copies are required to create an infection. A recent German study has found that a patient swab at the start of a COVID infection has over 600,000 copies / strands of RNA per swab. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.05.20030502v1 There is no safe level of viral load on a surface, but any test method would ideally show that a surface swabbed has less than 100 copies of Coronavirus.




Difference Between Surface and Human Testing For Coronavirus?


When testing a human, you expect to collect a dose in excess of 100,000 copies from a positive result. When testing a surface, the level of virus collected is likely to be much smaller (down to 100 copies) and the absolute level collected is important. To ensure all the viral particles collected are maintained until tested, the swab is placed inside viral transport media straight after testing, which is then kept cool to avoid RNA disintegration. At the time of testing the precise results from the qPCR process are recorded and the viral copy number calculated.




Which Surfaces Should You Test?


The highest risk surfaces are those that have been directly exposed to a COVID carrier’s coughs or hands. Hard surfaces retain the virus for longer than fabrics or paper. Potential areas to swab include computer mice, touch screens, door handles, sinks and floors.




When/How Will I Receive The Results


Results will be emailed to the customer within a 2-day turnaround period. The customer will receive a Certificate of Analysis detailing the result of the surface testing. The limit of detection is that Coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) was detected/ not detected. Unique to this test, the result will not just indicate the presence of Coronavirus but also the amount collected, giving indication of how heavily infected a surface is. This can be found in the table in the Units column. Example Certificate of Analysis




What Should You Do If You Find Coronavirus On A Swab Sample?


A study in Singapore of 3 patient hospital rooms with COVID showed that when the rooms had been Electrostatically Disinfected they were free of the virus. This study suggests that Electrostatic Disinfection is very effective against the virus.





Oxytise PiD

272 Bath Street

Glasgow G2 4JR


T  08443575125

M  07496 031 525

E info@oxytise.com

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