PROTECT Covid-19 National Core Study on transmission and environment update
UoMaH linked up National Facilities at Harwell with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to study SARS-CoV-2 in droplets and the filtration mechanisms in face mask materials. In a project with the STFC Central Laser Facility, Diamond, UCL and HSE, we used X-ray Ptychography and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence microscopy to detect an inactivated, labelled SARS-CoV-2 variant within droplets.
We were able to correlate images taken by different techniques and thereby infer virus location within droplets on a submicron level. Additionally synchrotron x-ray tomography revealed the microscale filtration mechanisms in different face masks and coverings under simulated breathing and humidification.
This work aims to improve scientific evidence base behind responses to the pandemic and to future threats through the UK Government's NCS PROTECT programme.