COVID-19 “evolves” to spread better in the air: study
Virus in saliva and nasal swabs increased in Alpha variant infections | Photo credit: Pixabay
- University of Maryland researchers suggested the need for better ventilation and well-fitting masks
- These major increases in the airborne virus of Alpha infections occurred before the arrival of the Delta variant
- The Delta variant currently circulating is even more contagious than the Alpha variant
New York: According to a study, people infected with the Covid Alpha variant exhaled 100 times more virus into the air than people infected with the original strains of the virus.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have suggested the need for better ventilation and well-fitting masks, in addition to widespread vaccination to help stop the spread of the virus.
The results showed that the amount of virus in the air from Alpha variant infections was much more – 18 times more – than could be explained by the increased amounts of virus in nasal swabs and saliva.
These major increases in the airborne virus of Alpha infections occurred before the arrival of the Delta variant and indicate that the virus is evolving to move better in the air.
“We already knew that the virus in saliva and nasal swabs was increased in Alpha variant infections. Nose and mouth viruses can be transmitted by large droplet sprays near an infected person. But, our study shows that the virus in expired aerosols increases even more, ”explained Jianyu Lai, a doctoral student at the university.
While the study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, focused on the Alpha variant and the original strain of the virus, researchers believe the Delta variant is even more transmissible.
“We know that the Delta variant that is currently circulating is even more contagious than the Alpha variant. Our research indicates that the variants keep getting better for air travel, so we need to provide better ventilation and wear masks well. adjusted, in addition to vaccination, to help stop the spread of the virus, ”said Dr. Don Milton, professor of environmental health in the University’s School of Public Health.
To test whether face masks block transmission of the virus between people, the study measured the amount of SARS-CoV-2 inhaled in the air and tested the amount of virus less than people with Covid-19 exhaled into the air after being put on. a surgical cloth or mask.
The face coverings significantly reduced the virus-charged particles in the air around the person with Covid-19, reducing the amount by about 50%. Unfortunately, the loose fabric and surgical masks did not prevent the infectious virus from entering the air.