Is Coronavirus airborne?
Considering the rapid spread of the virus, some Scientists believe the COVID virus is airborne, but WHO is yet to settle on it.
However, considering the MODE of Transmission, WHO has this to say:
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
Some scientist do not totally agree to this.
(Is Coronavirus airborne?) – Here is what some Scientist say:
Some scientists say there is preliminary evidence of airborne transmission in which the disease spreads in the much smaller particles from exhaled air, known as aerosols is occurring, and that precautions, such as increasing ventilation indoors, should be recommended to reduce the risk of infection.
In a scientific brief posted to its website on 27 March, the World Health Organization said that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, except in a handful of medical contexts, such as when intubating an infected patient.
But experts that work on airborne respiratory illnesses and aerosols say that gathering unequivocal evidence for airborne transmission could take years and cost lives. We shouldn’t “let perfect be the enemy of convincing”, says Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
(Is Coronavirus airborne?) Areas of conflicts:
- If SARS-CoV-2 is transmitting in aerosols, it is possible that virus particles can build up over time in enclosed spaces or be transmitted over greater distances.
- Wuhan, China, virologist Ke Lan at Wuhan University collected samples of aerosols in and around hospitals treating people with COVID-19, as well as at the busy entrances of two department stores.
Lan says the work demonstrates that “during breathing or talking, SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission might occur and impact people both near and far from the source”, but the study doesn’t ascertain whether the aerosols collected were able to infect cells.
- Another study failed to find evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in air samples in isolation rooms at an outbreak centre dedicated to treating people with COVID-19 in Singapore. Surface samples from an air outlet fan did return a positive result, but two of the authors — Kalisvar Marimuthu and Oon Tek Ng at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore — told Nature in an e-mail that the outlet was close enough to a person with COVID-19 that it could have been contaminated by respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze.
- A similar study by researchers in Nebraska found viral RNA in nearly two-thirds of air samples collected in isolation rooms in a hospital treating people with severe COVID-19 and in a quarantine facility housing those with mild infections. Surfaces in ventilation grates also tested positive. None of the air samples was infectious in cell culture, but the data suggest that “viral aerosol particles are produced by individuals that have the COVID-19 disease, even in the absence of cough”, the authors write.
- Scientists in the United States have shown in the laboratory that the virus can survive in an aerosol and remain infectious for at least 3 hours. Although the conditions in the study were “highly artificial”, there is probably “a non-zero risk of longer-range spread through the air”, says co-author Jamie Lloyd-Smith, an infectious-diseases researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Another crucial unknown is the infectious dose: The number of SARS-CoV-2 particles necessary to cause an infection, says Lloyd-Smith. “If you’re breathing aerosolized virus, we don’t know what the infectious dose is that gives a significant chance of being infected,” he says.
- Whatever the infectious dose, length of exposure is probably an important factor too, says Tang. Each breath might not produce much virus, he says, but “if you’re standing beside [someone who’s infected], sharing the same airspace with them for 45 minutes, you’re going to inhale enough virus to cause infection”.
(Is Coronavirus airborne?) – Our final verdict
We choose to highlight the different areas of concern for you to understand the direction of thinking of these scholars. If you would agree with me, there are possibilities around all the verdicts.
However, We are advised that we should not rule out the possibility of the virus being transmitted by air.
The assumption should be that airborne transmission is possible unless experimental evidence rules it out, not the other way around, says Tang. That way people can take precautions to protect themselves, he says.
Also, Increasing ventilation indoors and not recirculating air can go some way to ensuring that infectious aerosols are diluted and flushed out, says Morawska. Indoor meetings should be banned just in case, she says.
DO NOT FORGET TO FOLLOW THE COVID-19 PREVENTIVE MEASURES
- Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- If you have a fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. Call in advance.
- Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Source of most information captured here – NATURE