Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical exhaled breath condensate samples for metabolomic analysis

Shuang Hu, Mitchell M. Mccartney, Juan Arredondo, Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, Eva Borras, Richart W. Harper, Michael Schivo, Cristina E. Davis, Nicholas J. Kenyon, Satya Dandekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is routinely collected and analyzed in breath research. Because it contains aerosol droplets, EBC samples from SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals harbor the virus and pose the threat of infectious exposure. We report for the first time a safe and consistent method to fully inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in EBC samples and make EBC samples safe for processing and analysis. EBC samples containing infectious SARS-CoV-2 were treated with several concentrations of acetonitrile. The most commonly used 10% acetonitrile treatment for EBC processing failed to completely inactivate the virus in samples and viable virus was detected by the assay of SARS-CoV-2 infection of Vero E6 cells in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. Treatment with either 50% or 90% acetonitrile was effective to completely inactivate the virus, resulting in safe, non-infectious EBC samples that can be used for metabolomic analysis. Our study provides SARS-CoV-2 inactivation protocol for the collection and processing of EBC samples in the clinical setting and for advancing to metabolic assessments in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number017102
JournalJournal of breath research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • exhaled breath condensate (EBC)
  • infectious material
  • metabolomics analysis
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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