Comprehensive analyses of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a public health virology laboratory

With COVID-19, we think of small outbreaks occurring from humans being in close proximity at restaurants, parties, and other events. But what about laboratories? Zuckerman et al. share their tale of a small COVID-19 outbreak at Israel’s Central Virology Laboratory (ICVL) in mid-March 2020 and how they used their lab tech to determine the transmission sources. With eight known individuals testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus overall, the researchers walk step by step through their quarantine and testing processes to “elucidate person-to-person transmission events, map individual and common mutations, and examine suspicions regarding contaminated surfaces.” Their analyses found person-to-person contact—not contaminated surface contact—was the transmission path. They conclude that their overall analysis verifies the value of molecular testing and capturing complete viral genomes towards determining transmission vectors “and confirms that the strict safety regulations observed in ICVL most likely prevented further spread of the virus.”

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