Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Testing of Worn Face Masks for Timely Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in Hemodialysis Patients

Lemuel Rivera Fuentes, Nadja Grobe, Zahin Haq, Ohnmar Thwin, Xiaoling Wang, Dugan Maddux, Peter Kotanko

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is primarily transmitted through aerosolized droplets.1 Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exhale SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies at a rate of 103 to 105 per minute.2 In the United States, in-center hemodialysis patients and staff are mandated to wear face masks while staying in the dialysis clinic. Previously, face mask sampling was applied to patients with common cold symptoms.3 Recently, a novel method was described to detect exhaled SARS-CoV-2 by using special sampling strips attached to the inside of a duck-billed mask.4 We tested the hypothesis that assaying masks worn by in-center hemodialysis patients for SARS-CoV-2 RNA could provide an opportunity to identify infected subjects.

About the Contributors

Xiaoling Wang, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Xiaoling joined RRI in 2019. She received her PhD in biochemistry and structural biology  at Stony Brook University. Prior to joining RRI, she had years of postdoctoral experiences at Rockefeller University studying transcriptional regulation in vitro and in vivo. Xiaoling brings her extensive biochemistry, molecular and cell biology experiences to RRI. At RRI, Xiaoling is involved in many ongoing research projects and would also like to explore new projects.

Nadja Grobe, MS, PhD

Supervisor, Laboratory Research

Nadja received her MS and PhD in biochemistry from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Prior to joining RRI in 2017, she gained more than 10 years of experience in guiding and implementing chemistry, biochemistry, and biomedical-focused research teams in nonprofit, academia, and government. Her previous research has been funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Society of Nephrology.

Dr. Peter Kotanko, MD

RRI Research Director

SVP, Corporate Research & Development

Peter Kotanko, MD, is Research Director at the Renal Research Institute (RRI), New York. Prior to joining RRI, from 1997 to 2007 he served as vice chair of a department of internal medicine at an academic teaching hospital in Graz, Austria. Prior to moving to Graz in 1989, he worked from 1982 to 1989 in the Department of Physiology and the University Clinic of Internal Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria. From 1995 to 1996 he trained in nephrology at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.