We have all come to know that the dreaded disease Coronavirus spreads through the air. However, the extent of the spread through was not much established and that should perhaps explain the reason why the world health experts formulated the concept of social distancing of around two feet. However, there has been a new study published in the medical journal Lancet that refutes the year-long theory that COVID-19 is not an airborne pathogen.
So, is the Coronavirus airborne? The study conducted by the experts and published in the Lancet Journal lists out 10 prime reasons to explain why Coronavirus is airborne. The team of the University of Oxford’s Trish Greenhalgh went through the different studies that have been published so far and arrived at the conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is indeed airborne.
A few of the conclusions that scientists have drawn from their study and analysis to claim that COVID is airborne include –
1. Superspreading events
The events that can spread the virus more stronger have been related to the human behaviours. These events have been regarded as the primary drivers of the disease. There are several factors that contribute to it and most of the common spreading patterns can not be explained by droplets or fomites.
2. Higher indoor infection
COVID -19 spread has been observed to be quite on a higher scale in the indoor conditions than in the outdoors. The infection can be reduced with the substantial indoor ventilation.
3. Infections in Quarantine rooms
There have been instances where the people in the adjacent rooms in the quarantine centres have been observed to be contracting the disease. The infection has been observed even when the people were in close contact.
4. Infections even with PPE
There have been the cases where infections have been observed with the medical professionals wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). It may be noticed that the PPE kits are designed for protection against the droplets, but it does not protect against aerosol exposure.
5. Infection even with no coughing and sneezing
Close to from 33 per cent to 59 per cent of all Covid-19 cases have been reported to be an asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission. This would consistently support the theory that the disease is predominantly airborne.
6. The particles found in air
The experts found the virus in the air ducts or even the vehicle ventilators. This proves that the virus can spread through the air. The expert team found the COVID-19 virus in the air filters and building ducts in hospitals. There can be only one way that the virus can reach there and it is due to airborne transmission.
7. Virus has detected in the air
Studies have revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in the air. In the laboratory studies, the virus has been observed to stay alive in the air for a minimum of three hours.
8. Caged animals infected
There have been instances where the caged animals have been observed to be infected. The transmission has been proved to be due to the contraction of the virus through the air duct
9. No study to refute the airborne transmission
While the larger medical community has been arguing that the virus spreads only through droplets and fomite, there have been no studies to disapprove of the airborne theory. There have been practically no studies that have been conducted to refute the contract of the disease through air.
10. No prime support for the droplet theory
The final argument put forth by the experts in the study is that there has been a limited study and research that supports the theory that droplets and fomite are the dominant routes of infection. Even when the professionals have been claiming that the virus predominantly spreads through droplets, there have been no studies to prove it.
You can check out the paper here.
What will this mean?
The fact that the possibility of the Coronavirus spread being airborne has been footed, it can mean an individual can get the disease simply by inhaling the aerosols spread by the individual who may be infected. You can get the infection when the affected person sneezes, speaks, sings, shouts, coughs or does anything for that matter.
That should be a new revelation and can substantially change the way the world is looking to fight Coronavirus. Since there has been a huge change in how Coronavirus is spread, the governments and other institutions need to make consistent changes in their strategy of combating the disease.