Tuesday , October 26 2021

COVID-19 is evolving to become more airborne, according to a recent study


According to a recent study from the University of Maryland, published in the Clinical infectious diseases newspaper from last week.
People infected with the Alpha strain of COVID-19 exhale 43 to 100 times more of the virus into the air compared to people infected with the original COVID-19 strain, a press release said.

The research found that the airborne viral load of patients with Alpha variants was 18 times more than could be explained by the increase in the amount of virus in nasal tampons and saliva.

The researchers also found that facial coatings, such as surgical masks and cloths, reduce the amount of virus that is breathed into the air by about 50%.

“We know the Delta variant circulating now is even more contagious than the Alpha variant,” said Dr. Don Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, according to the study.

“Because research indicates that successive variants don’t stop traveling through the air, better ventilation and tight masks, in addition to vaccination, can help offset the increased risk,” he added.

In the early days of the pandemic, scientists could not initially confirm that COVID-19 could be propagated through airborne particles and was believed to be transmitted through actions such as coughing and sneezing.

A woman wears a protective mask during the coronavirus pandemic (credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)A woman wears a protective mask during the coronavirus pandemic (credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)

“We already knew this virus in saliva and nasal swabs [were] increased infections by alpha variants. Virus[es] of the nose and mouth can be transmitted by spraying large drops near an infected person. But, our study shows that the virus from exhaled aerosols increases even more, ”said one of the study’s authors, PhD student Jianyu Lai.

Researchers recommend a “layered approach” to protecting people in public workplaces and indoor spaces, such as vaccines, tight masks, improved ventilation, increased filtration, and UV air sanitation.

“The messages I take home from this article are that coronavirus can be in the exhaled breath (and) it is improving the exhaled breath and the use of a mask reduces the chances of others breathing it,” he said. the Clinical Assistant Professor Jennifer German, co-author of the study.

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