Study that traces the spread of COVID-19 in a South African hospital holds valuable lessons on infection control

30 April 2020

CAPRISA honorary scientist and honorary research associate at the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP), Prof Tulio de Oliveira (top in the photo) and Dr Richard Lessells (bottom in the photo), and Prof Yunus Moosa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have published a detailed reconstruction of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread from ward to ward and between patients, doctors, and nurses, based on floor maps of the hospital, analyses of staff and patient movements, and viral genomes.  Their 37-page analysis is the most extensive study of any hospital outbreak of Covid-19 so far writes science writer, Linda Nordling. It suggests all of the cases originated from a single introduction, and that patients rarely infected other patients. Instead, the virus was mostly carried around the hospital by staff and on the surfaces of medical equipment.

 The report “holds valuable lessons in how health care institutions need to function in the Covid era,” says Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Chair of the South African Ministry of Health Advisory Committee on COVID-19.  Linda Nordling compiled this report published in Sciencemag on 25th May, which can be accessed here: