Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (XII)

Andrei A. Pochtovyi  1,2, Valeria V. Bacalin3, Nadezhda A. Kuznetsova1, Maria A. Nikiforova1, Elena V. Shidlovskaya1, Bakhtiyar I. Verdiev1, Ekaterina N. Milashenko1, Alexey M. Shchetinin1, Ol'ga A. Burgasova3, Ludmila V. Kolobukhina1, Svetlana V. Smetanina4, Artem P. Tkachuk1, Vladimir A. Gushchin  1,2, Alexander L. Gintsburg1,5 

1 National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Honorary Academician N.F. Gamaleya of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, 123098 Moscow, Russia
2 Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
3 Рeoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), 117198 Moscow, Russia
4 Moscow Healthcare Department, 127006 Moscow, Russia
5 Infectiology Department, I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, 119146 Moscow, Russia

Received: October 23, 2020
Revised: January 3, 2021
Accepted: January 22, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200604  

Cite this article:

Pochtovyi, A.A., Bacalin, V.V.,  Kuznetsova, N.A., Nikiforova, M.A., Shidlovskaya, E.V., Verdiev, B.I., Milashenko, E.N., Shchetinin, A.M., Burgasova, O.A., Kolobukhina, L.V., Smetanina, S.V., Tkachuk, A.P., Gushchin, V.A., Gintsburg, A.L. (2021). SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol and Surface Contamination in Health Care Settings: The Moscow Pilot Study. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200604. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200604


  • SARS-CoV-2 contamination levels in Moscow infectious disease hospital was assessed.
  • Contamination of aerosols with viral RNA was detected only in the ICU department.
  • The maximum concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA reached 513 copies m–3 of air.
  • Frequently contacted surfaces were the most contaminated (handles, switches, etc.).


The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has had serious impacts on not only the health care system but also all sectors of the economy. Thanks to the adoption of various epidemiological measures, a significant reduction in new cases of infection has been achieved. However, there are still “hotspots”, such as healthcare settings focused on treating patients with COVID-19, which are characterized by the risk of nosocomial transmission among health care workers, patients, and visitors. The proper monitoring and timely detection of pathogens in a hospital environment will help prevent further spread of coronavirus infection. In this study, we collected samples from the air and surface swabs at the First Moscow Infectious Diseases Hospital to study the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 in various hospital locations. More than 130 aerosol and surface samples were collected and analysed by RT-PCR. We detected viral contamination of the air in the intensive care unit (ICU) but not in the respiratory infection department where less severe patients are treated. The concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was low, consisting of less than one copy per litre of air. The contact surfaces in both departments were contaminated with SARS-CoV-2. Considering the possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through fomites, these results indicate the need to strictly follow personal hygiene rules as well as wear personal protective equipment to prevent disease spread.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Aerosol, Healthcare, Disease control

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