COVID-19 evolves, ‘gets better’ into an airborne virus

College Park, Maryland – A new study suggests that recent variants of COVID-19 are more adept at airborne transmission than the original version of the coronavirus. University of Maryland researchers analyzed an alpha variant that originated in the UK and found that carriers of the virus breathe 43 to 100 times Viral aerosols are more contagious than those infected with native strains.

On a positive note, the study’s authors say that multiple face coverings typically reduce the number of exhaled virus particles in half.

“Our latest study provides additional evidence of the importance of air transport,” said Dr. Don Melton, professor of environmental health at the Maryland School of Public Health (UMD SPH). university release. “We know that the delta variant circulating now is more infectious than the alpha variant. Our research shows that variants are getting better at air travel, so we should provide better ventilation and wear tight masks, in addition to vaccinations, to help stop them. spread of the virus.”

Larger viral loads enter the air

The scientists explained that this new variable results in a much larger “viral load” for the carriers of the infection, which indicates the amount of virus present in the body. However, the new study found that the amount of coronavirus released into the air by the altered alpha vector was far more (18 times) than viral load alone could. This shows that SARS-CoV-2 actually improved when traveling and air transportation with the passage of time.

“We already know that the virus in saliva and nasal swabs increases in infection with the alpha variant. The virus can be transmitted from the nose and mouth by spraying large droplets near an infected person. But our research shows that the virus in the exhaled aerosol is even more elevated,” explained study participant author and doctoral student Jianyu Lai.

Meanwhile, tests of face masks showed that commonly used face coverings such as: Loose cloth and surgical masks Reduce the amount of virus-laden particles released into the air when breathing, and reduce their number by about 50 percent. However, the results certainly don’t show that face masks alone can do this. Offer complete protection.

“The take-home message from this paper is that coronavirus can get into your exhaled breath, it increases your exhaled breath, and wearing a mask reduces the chances of being inhaled into others,” concluded study co-author Dr. Jennifer German.

The study authors recommend a “layered approach” to COVID-19 prevention in public or indoor spaces including vaccination, tight-fitting masks, better ventilation, increased filtration, and sterilization of the air with UV light.

NS study Appears in magazines Clinical infectious disease.

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