Sampling and detection of corona viruses in air: A mini review

Sci Total Environ. 2020 Oct 20;740:140207. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140207. Epub 2020 Jun 15.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a strain of coronaviruses that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In these days, the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the air has become a controversial topic among scientists. Various organizations provide standard methods for monitoring biological agents in the air. Nevertheless, there has been no standard recommended method for sampling and determination of viruses in air. This manuscript aimed at reviewing published papers for sampling and detection of corona viruses, especially SARS-Cov-2 as a global health concern. It was found that SARS-Cov 2 was present in some air samples that were collected from patient's rooms in hospitals. This result warrants its airborne transmission potential. However, due to the fact that in the most reviewed studies, sampling was performed in the patient's room, it seems difficult to discriminate whether it is airborne or is transmitted through respiratory droplets. Moreover, some other disrupting factors such as patient distance from the sampler, using protective or oxygen masks by patients, patient activities, coughing and sneezing during sampling time, air movement, air conditioning, sampler type, sampling conditions, storage and transferring conditions, can affect the results. About the sampling methods, most of the used samplers such as PTFE filters, gelatin filers and cyclones showed suitable performance for trapping SARS-Co and MERS-Cov viruses followed by PCR analysis.

Keywords: Air; SARS-Cov-2; Sampling; Virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2