19 May 2020
Including testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Swabs of Environmental Surfaces
Hygiene – a well-known challenge with new meaning.
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 triggers the respiratory disease COVID-19. The virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets which are formed when coughing or sneezing.
A current important question is whether the virus can also be transmitted via surfaces that have been contaminated with viruses.
Results of current studies concluded that viruses remained infectious for 2 – 3 days on some surfaces (stainless steel and plastic) following heavy artifical contamination. Moreover, the number of active viruses decreased rapidly. However, smear infection is only likely to occur during a short period after contamination, due to the relatively low stability of coronaviruses in the environment.
The BfR (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) is not yet aware of any infections with SARS-CoV-2 via eating contaminated food or through contact with contaminated objects.
As enveloped viruses, in which the genetic material is coated by a layer of fat (lipid layer), coronaviruses react sensitively to substances that dissolve fat, such as alcohols or surface-active agents, which are contained in soaps and detergents.
Therefore, cleaning and/or disinfection in regular and short intervals of all frequently touched surfaces is recommended.
We verify the effectiveness of cleaning i.a. by analysis of the surfaces for SARS-CoV-2 virus parts. In addition, we recommend determining the total
bacterial count as a general hygiene indicator.
We support you in evaluating and improving hygiene processes and disinfection measures.
Taking into account the recommendation of the WHO we have developed a sampling kit that we can send on request.
Sampling and Logistics
Cooled shipped samples should be in the laboratory within 24 hours. This is ensured by our SYNLAB logistics and logistic service providers.
After the samples have been received in the laboratory, the analysis is carried out on a molecular biological basis using PCR analysis. Since the detection is based on the detection of the genetic information (RNA) of the
virus, a distinction cannot be made between active and inactive viruses.
The qualitative test results are available within 2 – 3 working days and are transmitted in a test report.
These investigations should primarily be carried out by sectors with high public traffic.
These include in particular
- Medical practices and hospitals
- Old people‘s and nursing homes
- Spas, wellness centres, amusement parks
- Wholesale and retail
- Hotel and hospitality industry
- Public transport
- Cruise / passenger shipping
We recommend, among other things, the sampling of the following surfaces:
- Sales and reception counters
- Light switches
- Elevator buttons
This list is not complete and can be adapted to individual customer requirements.
Your advantages with SYNLAB
SYNLAB Hygiene is your full service provider for all aspects of hygiene diagnostics: sampling service, testing, monitoring and advisory service.
As part of the SYNLAB group, we have access to an expert network in the areas of human medicine, hospital hygiene and infection prevention.