Scientists Find Coronavirus Lingering in Air of Wuhan Hospitals
The study doesn’t explore the infectivity of the aerosolised virus but RNA of the virus was found in tiny droplets.
Scientists from China have found evidence that coronavirus could be airborne. The virus can float in the air, especially in crowded places and less-ventilated spaces according to the study published on Nature.
A few laboratory experiments had earlier established that the virus can remain in the air but this new study showcases real-world conditions from two hospitals in Wuhan, China where the outbreak first took place.
The study doesn't explore the infectivity of the aerosolised virus but RNA of the virus was found in tiny droplets. It says,
“The concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols detected in isolation wards and ventilated patient rooms was very low, but it was elevated in the patients’ toilet areas.”
Further, it also says that in the majority of public area, the levels of RNA was undetectable but in two crowded areas which possibly had infected carriers in the crowd, it was significant.
It finds out, "Some medical staff areas initially had high concentrations of viral RNA with aerosol size distributions showing peaks in submicrometre and/or supermicrometre regions, but these levels were reduced to undetectable levels after implementation of rigorous sanitization procedures."
It is not known if this can be harmful and lead to further transmission.
"Future work should explore the infectivity of aerosolised virus", the study adds.
Two other studies in February and March too had concluded that the virus can remain present in areas that lack ventilation.
Experts believe that with rigorous sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can reduce the virus' RNA concentration.
World Health Organization had earlier said,
“WHO continues to recommend droplet and contact precautions for those people caring for COVID-19 patients. WHO continues to recommend airborne precautions for circumstances and settings in which aerosol generating procedures and support treatment are performed, according to risk assessment.”
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