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Corona virus can be detected in tiny droplets of the air we breathe
The new Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is transmitted by droplet infection - especially when coughing and sneezing. However, according to a recent statement by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), bioaerosols can also develop during normal speaking and breathing, which represent a possible source of infection.
In an official release, NAS commented on whether the new coronavirus could be spread not only through the droplets emitted when sneezing and coughing, but also through normal conversations and simple breathing. The National Academies of Sciences warn that the currently available research suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can also be transmitted via the bioaerosols released.
Which transmission paths are possible?
A study published about two weeks ago in the trade journal "The New England Journal of Medicine" had examined in detail how long the new coronavirus lasted on different surfaces and which transmission routes were possible and found, for example, that the coronaviruses on plastic and Steel surfaces survive longer.
Corona virus survives in aerosols for hours
The study results also showed that SARS-CoV-2 can survive for hours in so-called aerosols and therefore could be transmitted during normal speaking and breathing. The experts at NAS have now officially taken a position on this and expressly refer to the fact that "the presence of viral RNA in air droplets and aerosols indicates the possibility of viral transmission via these routes."
Respirators can help
Although the SARS-CoV-2-specific research currently available remains limited, the results of previous studies suggest aerosolization of the virus from normal breathing, the NAS said. With reference to further test results, the society emphasizes that this also speaks for the fact that medical respirators, when worn by infected people, significantly reduce the risk of transmission. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS): Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic, (published April 1, 2020), nap.edu
- The New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 (published 03/17/2020), nejm.org