Early Detection of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Virus Spreaders

Posted by Sandra Hageman on Jul 3, 2020 10:35:02 AM
Sandra Hageman

early detection of asymptomatic cov-2

Eurofins publishes method for early detection of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 virus spreaders, that does not require human PCR clinical testing

Although employees showing COVID-19 symptoms are currently discouraged from going to work, significant workplace COVID-19 outbreaks were recently reported. Virus spread by asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals has been reported to be a significant cause of contamination clusters. Yet, other than PCR testing every employee each day using an invasive nasal or nasopharyngeal swab, few options exist to detect asymptomatic virus spreaders who can contaminate other employees or visitors.  

Following an extensive study (1) involving over 6,300 PCR tests at nine office and industrial locations in Europe and North America, Eurofins demonstrated that its Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM RT-PCR environmental surfaces tests can contribute to detecting asymptomatic virus spreaders.

Eurofins is launching Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM worldwide today as part of its SAFER@WORK™ programme. Through a range of comprehensive testing solutions, including waste water testing, work environment surface testing and worn mask testing, Eurofins COVID-19 Sentinel™ provides an early warning of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 amongst large populations at a given site (e.g. a city, factories, education institutions, government and public service sites, nursing homes), before the virus spreads too broadly. If positive results are found, employees present in the rooms tested can be isolated and advised to get tested by clinical RT-PCR.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and employers have deployed a set of common measures to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in workplaces and public environments, such as frequent disinfection, social distancing, work from home policies, or regular employee testing. With the growing understanding of the potential spread of the virus through pre- and asymptomatic carriers, and additional barriers to personal testing, such as inconvenience, expense and invasiveness, businesses, education, public and government bodies are looking for non-invasive cost-effective ways to monitor for early warning signs of a potential outbreak.

This is why Eurofins developed the Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM programme, which is affordable, easily organised and non-invasive. The Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM monitoring allows governments and companies to early detect the presence of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic virus carriers, at times before anyone is aware of the issue, and to assess effectiveness of workplace COVID-19 management plans.

The Eurofins SentinelTM programme relies on two main environmental testing solutions: wastewater testing and surface testing.

Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM wastewater testing can be used as a leading indicator of the infection in a community or work site, at a very early stage. If this approach is used for individual companies or sites, frequent monitoring of wastewater provides an early indication of outbreak at a site. Eurofins developed an optimised wastewater testing method with high sensitivity.

Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM surface testing allows sites to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the workplace and to assess the efficiency of prevention measures. Through a Eurofins led study over a two-week period in nine workplace locations across the world (1), it was demonstrated that sites with COVID-19 contaminated surfaces were ten times more likely to have clinically positive employees than locations with no or very few positive surfaces (both employees (841 tests) and high-frequency touch point environmental surfaces (5,500 tests) were tested in parallel for SARS-CoV-2 using Eurofins SentinelTM RT-PCR methods).

As part of Eurofins SAFER@WORK™, the Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM programme can be organised with minimal disruption, is non-invasive and a cost-effective way to monitor any resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eurofins experts can also support public and private institutions in developing a tailor-made monitoring programme and in analysing results with efficient tracking systems such as surface heat mapping. In case of any resurgence of COVID-19, the Eurofins COVID-19 SentinelTM programme subscribers can have access to Eurofins comprehensive range of solutions, including a broad set of clinical testing solutions (PCR and antibodies) as well as auditing/inspection services provided by Eurofins Assurance and Inspection.


Tags: COVID-19