COVID-19 virus evolving to get better at becoming airborne: Study
The researchers study explained that until vaccination rates are very high, continued layered controls, including improved ventilation, increased filtration, UV air sanitation, and tight-fitting masks are critical to protecting people in public-facing jobs and indoor spaces.
According to a study by University of Maryland researchers, the variants of SARS-CoV-2 are getting better at travelling through the air and suggested the need for better ventilation and tight-fitting masks in addition to widespread vaccination.
The researchers explained that until vaccination rates are very high, continued layered controls, including improved ventilation, increased filtration, UV air sanitation, and tight-fitting masks are critical to protecting people in public-facing jobs and indoor spaces.
THE COVID-19 virus is evolving towards a more efficient aerosol generation, a new study at the University of Maryland School of Public Health has warned. Improved ventilation, increased filtration and tight-fitting masks have been described as critical to protecting people going forward, reports Express.co.uk.
The team found that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 exhale infectious virus in their breath, and those infected with the Alpha variant put 43 to 100 times more virus into the air than people infected with the original strains of the virus.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, also found that loose-fitting cloth and surgical masks reduced the amount of virus that gets into the air around infected people by about half.
"Our latest study provides further evidence of the importance of airborne transmission," said Don Milton, professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
“We know that the Delta variant circulating now is even more contagious than the Alpha variant. Our research indicates that the variants just keep getting better at travelling through the air, so we must provide better ventilation and wear tight-fitting masks, in addition to vaccination, to help stop spread of the virus,” Milton said.
The Express.co.uk article says the amount of virus in the air coming from Alpha variant infections was at least18 times more than could be explained by the increased amounts of virus in nasal swabs and saliva. Quoting one of the lead authors, doctoral student Jianyu Lai, the report says: “We already knew that virus in saliva and nasal swabs were increased in Alpha variant infections. Viruses from the nose and mouth might be transmitted by sprays of large droplets up close to an infected person.
“But our study shows that the virus in exhaled aerosols is increasing even more."
Face coverings significantly reduced virus-laden particles in the air around the person with Covid-19, cutting the amount by about 50%. Unfortunately, the loose-fitting cloth and surgical masks didn't stop infectious virus from getting into the air.
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