Objective: To determine if viable virus could be isolated from the air within a car driven by a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2, and to assess the size range of the infectious particles.
Methods: We used a Sioutas personal cascade impactor sampler (PCIS) to screen for SARS-CoV-2 in a car driven by a COVID-19 patient. The patient, who had only mild illness without fever or cough and was not wearing a mask, drove the car for 15 min with the air conditioning turned on and windows closed. The PCIS was clipped to the sun-visor above the front passenger seat and was retrieved from the car two hours after completion of the drive.
Results: SARS-CoV-2 was detectable at all PCIS stages by PCR and was cultured from the section of the sampler collecting particles in the 0.25-0.50 μm size range.
Conclusions: Our data highlight the potential risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by minimally symptomatic persons in the closed space inside of a car and suggest that a substantial component of that risk is via aerosolized virus.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 aerosols; SARS-CoV-2 in vehicles.
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