Contamination found in CT unit after COVID-19 scans

2020 10 07 19 51 9447 Coronavirus Hologram Blue 400

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the SARS-CoV-2 virus was found among internal components of a CT scanner that had performed a high volume of exams on COVID-19 patients, according to Italian research published online on 1 October in European Radiology Experimental. In good news, the RNA was discovered only in the inward airflow filter.

"These results are encouraging since this filter may act as a partial barrier to [dissemination of] the virus," wrote the researchers led by Dr. João Matos of the University of Genoa in Genova, Italy.

Seeking to determine if the internal gantry components of their 16-slice CT scanner (LightSpeed, GE Healthcare) could be contaminated after scanning 180 consecutive patients with COVID-19 over a 26-day period, the researchers opened the CT gantry and sampled the following eight components: gantry case, inward airflow filter, gantry motor, x-ray tube, outflow fan, fan grid, detectors, and the x-ray tube filter.

All samples were then analyzed using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The researchers also evaluated the samples for the presence of bacterial and fungal agents.

With the exception of the inward airflow filter, all internal CT gantry components were devoid of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, according to the researchers. They also did not find any bacterial or fungal agents.

"Even after 26 days of intensive use, conventional sanitization measures were most probably successful in preventing large-scale contamination of the CT scanner," the authors wrote.

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