The age-old idiom “finding a needle in a haystack” pales in comparison with finding a virus in the air. At least you can see a needle.
Breakthrough work by UF professors Chang-Yu Wu and John Lednicky recently made international headlines when they successfully collected viable novel coronaviruses — those capable of infecting people — from air in a hospital room occupied by a patient ill with COVID-19.
Genetic testing matched the SARS-CoV-2 virus they found in the air with virus obtained from the patient. Further testing failed to find the virus in the hospital’s hallways, common areas or waiting rooms; this indicated that the hospital’s infection-control protocols worked as planned. Hospital administrators viewed the follow-up results as a confidence-booster that the testing was accurate and also as a source of comfort about the ambient air quality.