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SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) Analysis for Environmental Surfaces

Published: June 15th, 2020

Revised: June 15th, 2020

Why sample for COVID-19 in the indoor environment?

Limited recent study of surface viability of the COVID-19 virus indicates that it can remain detectable on different types of materials for several hours to days . According to the CDC, the COVID-19 viral RNA was detected for up to 17 days on surfaces within enclosed areas containing confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as the case on the Diamond Princess cruise ship . Given the persistence of this virus on surfaces, proper decontamination and disinfection strategies are of the utmost importance. In certain high-risk circumstances, monitoring for persistent viruses is the gold standard method for confirming the elimination of surface contamination of COVID-19.

How does the test work?

Our COVID-19 virus analysis is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Respiratory Viruses Branch, Division of Viral Diseases protocol entitled 2019-NovelCoronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, effective 15 March 2020 . We have adapted and validated these processes for environmental samples in consideration of our test equipment and consumables.

Quantitative Reverse Transcription PCR analysis (qRT-PCR) is a highly specific and sensitive tool for testing samples for a range of RNA-based biohazardous agents. For our COVID-19 virus test, results will be reported as Positive or Not Detected. It is important to note that environmental RNA is highly unstable. SARS-CoV-2 consists of an RNA genome contained in a shell-like protein nucleocapsid which, in turn, is tucked inside an envelope composed of human cell membrane – this envelope protects the viral RNA from the environment. Once the integrity of the outer membrane is breached, environmentally abundant RNA-degrading enzymes rapidly destroy the viral RNA. Thus a positive result from this test is considered confirmatory of the presence of intact, infective virus particles.

How to Perform Environmental Surface Sampling for COVID-19

Surface sampling procedures for the COVID-19 agent are described in the World Health Organization protocol entitled Surface sampling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Apractical “how to” protocol for health care and public health professionals dated February 18, 2020. This protocol should be followed when developing a post-decontamination sampling plan and collecting samples for submission for COVID-19 virus analysis.

Sporometrics-provided swabs for COVID-19 analysis will only be accepted. Swabs used for bacterial or fungal testing do not provide the same efficiency of viral RNA recovery and should not be used or submitted for this purpose. Decisions involving results and nonconformity of samples are the client’s responsibility. It is important to note that the swabs provided to you by Sporometrics are not the nasopharyngeal swabs used for clinical testing. Sporometrics understands the importance of maintaining the supply chain for our hospitals and healthcare industry.

Submission Instructions

Please contact Sporometrics prior to submitting any samples for COVID-19 virus testing. We will send you a work order with pricing and terms and conditions to sign and return. Sporometrics will provide test collection kits containing swabs and sampling instructions. It is critical that all samples are collected and submitted in accordance to our protocols, for protection of our team’s health and safety as well as your own.

For more information, please contact Sporometrics and a representative will be available to assist you.


Air Sample Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus)

Published: May 26th, 2020

Revised: June 15th, 2020

Sporometrics can now conduct RT-PCR analysis for SARS-CoV-2 on air samples.

As the world continues to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, there is growing concern about the possibility of airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by fine particles (more…)

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) Analysis

Published: April 16th, 2020

Revised: June 15th, 2020

Sporometrics is proud to offer analysis services by RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. The purpose of this analysis is to support our clients by providing confidence in the effectiveness of decontamination activities and minimize exposure risk during this challenging period. (more…)

Surveys reveal a complex association of phytoplasmas and viruses with the blueberry stunt disease on Canadian blueberry farms

Published: April 9th, 2019

Revised: April 9th, 2019

Surveys for phytoplasmas and viruses were conducted during September 2014 and 2015 on highbush blueberry farms in the Région Montérégie, Quebec. Total DNA and RNA were extracted from blueberry bushes showing blueberry stunt (BBS) symptoms and from symptomless blueberry bushes, and utilised as templates for PCR and RT‐PCR assays, respectively. Phytoplasma DNA was amplified with universal phytoplasma primers that target the 16S rRNA, secA and secY genes from 12 out of 40 (30%) plants tested. Based on 16S rRNA, secA and secY gene sequence identity, phylogenetic clustering, actual and in silico RFLP analyses, phytoplasma strains associated with BBS disease in Quebec were identified as ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’‐related strains, closely related to the BBS Michigan phytoplasma strain (16SrI‐E). The secY gene sequence‐based single nucleotide polymorphism analysis revealed that one of the BBS phytoplasma strains associated with a leaf marginal yellowing is a secY‐I RFLP variant of the subgroup 16SrI‐E. Two viruses were detected in blueberry bushes. The Blueberry Red Ringspot Virus (BRRV) was found in a single infection in the cultivar Bluecrop with no apparent typical BRRV symptoms. The Tobacco Ringspot Virus (TRSV) was found singly infecting blueberry plants and co‐infecting a BBS phytoplasma‐infected blueberry cv. Bluecrop plant. This is the first report of TRSV in the cv. Bluecrop in Quebec. The Quebec BBS phytoplasma strain was identified in the leafhopper Graphocephala fennahi, which suggests that G. fennahi may be a potential vector for the BBS phytoplasma. The BBS disease shows a complex aetiology and epidemiology; therefore, prompt actions must be developed to support focused BBS integrated management strategies.

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Molecular and biological characterization of phytoplasmas from coconut palms affected by the lethal yellowing disease in Africa.

Published: April 9th, 2019

Revised: April 9th, 2019

Côte d’Ivoire lethal yellowing (CILY) is a devastating disease associated with phytoplasmas and has recently rapidly spread to several coconut-growing areas in the Country. Phytoplasmas are phloem-restricted bacteria that affect plant species worldwide. These bacteria are transmitted by plant sap-feeding insects, and their cultivation was recently achieved in complex artificial media. In this study, phytoplasmas were isolated for the first time from coconut palm trunk borings in both solid and liquid media from CILY symptom-bearing and symptomless coconut palms. The colony morphology, PCR and sequencing analyses indicated the presence of phytoplasmas from different ribosomal groups. This study reports the first biochemical characterization of two of these phytoplasma isolates. Moreover, a disc-diffusion antibiotic susceptibility assay revealed that these bacteria exhibit tobramycin susceptibility and cephalexin hydrate and rifampicin resistance. Urea and arginine hydrolysis, and glucose fermentation tests that were performed on colonies of phytoplasmas and Acholeplasma laidlawii indicated that both phytoplasmas tested were negative for urea and positive for glucose and arginine, whereas A. laidlawii was positive for glucose and negative for urea and arginine. The growth of coconut phytoplasmas in both solid and liquid artificial media and the biological characterization of these isolates are novel and important advancements in the field of disease management and containment measures for the CILY disease. The characterization of isolated phytoplasmas will allow for more efficient management strategies in both the prevention of a coconut phytoplasma epidemics and the reduction of the economic impact of the disease in the affected areas.

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