Businesses Can Now Test Workplace Surfaces for Coronavirus Contamination
- Özgür Töre
Businesses such as hotel chains, universities, restaurants, and aged care facilities can now test for coronavirus in their work environment.
Following a partnership between Chai Inc. in California and Biological Health Services (BHS) in Melbourne, Australia, companies can certify the cleanness of their facilities.
“We are seeing interest from manufacturing and distribution centres, hotel chains, universities, restaurants and aged care facilities,” says BHS principal Dr. Cameron Jones. “With this test, businesses can reassure their visitors, guests and staff that they are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their work environment.”
BHS is an environmental health and safety company experienced in testing for biological contamination in residential and commercial properties. When a business requests a coronavirus test for their facility, BHS contractors begin by swabbing high-touch surfaces, where aerosolized viral particles can rest and be picked up by customers or staff. Swab samples are then shipped to a laboratory for qPCR testing, which is the same technology used in human diagnostic labs. With this test, businesses can monitor the efficacy of their decontamination protocols, as well as have a head start on infection control if a test comes back positive.
"Compare this to today’s approach, where businesses simply hope that none of their staff or visitors are asymptomatic carriers. Our approach is much more proactive and reassuring to customers."
The partnership announcement comes as Victoria faces over 5,300 active coronavirus cases, 963 of which are in aged care facilities where people are most vulnerable. As cases continue to increase, workplace contamination becomes more likely, making routine environmental testing an important method for ensuring workplace safety.
A recent Nature Scientific Report demonstrated that surfaces are a viable pathway for viral transmission. Chai is one of the few biotechnology companies to have developed a kit tailor-made to test on surface. Furthermore, the kit has been validated on ceramic, brass, plastic, rubber, and stainless steel at a limit of detection of 290 viral particles per swab. For reference, a sneeze from an infected person contains approximately 2 million viral particles.
Chai Inc. is a biotechnology company based in Santa Clara, CA focused on making core molecular biological technologies accessible to all, while developing powerful tools for the next generation of synthetic biologists. Chai has recently developed a test kit for the detection of coronavirus on surfaces.
Additional information about Chai and the test kit is available at https://www.chaibio.com/coronavirus-surface-testing