Airborne transmission of coronavirus possible, says new study
Airborne transmission of coronavirus is possible, suggests a new study by scientists at the University of Nebraska. The report points out that aerosol prevention measures are necessary to effectively stem the spread of COVID-19.
The study has confirmed for the first time that coronavirus present in microdroplets, defined as less than five microns, can replicate in laboratory conditions.
The study was uploaded to a medical pre-print website this week. These findings are still considered preliminary and have not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.
While scientists have known for many months now that SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- can remain suspended in micro-droplets expelled by patients while they breathe and speak, there was no proof that these particles are infectious.
The finding compounds the hypothesis that not just coughing and sneezing, but also breathing and speaking, are responsible for the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier in July, the World Health Organization (WHO) had updated its guidelines on modes of transmission of the virus by including the possibility in certain circumstances of airborne transmission.
The update came on July 9, after an open letter signed by more than 200 scientists pressed the agency to acknowledge the potential role that aerosols play in airborne transmission among people in crowded, indoor settings for prolonged periods of time.