All You Need To Know About COVID-19 Air Borne Disease
Exhaled breath of COVID-19 patients can contain novel coronavirus, study finds
WHY IN NEWS:
According to the pre-print, breath emission rate was highest during the earlier stages of COVID-19
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases
For PRELIMS it is important to understand the transmission routes and the rates of transmission .
For MAINS go through the suggested reading and the articles down this article ! For now let us dive in .
COVID-19 : AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION
- MedRxiv labs have confirmed this.
- A study published in Nature had earlier found airborne coronavirus in a patient’s breath.
- A couple of more studies found airborne transmission of the virus during breathing and speaking.
- A new study posted on July 2 in preprint server MedRxiv has again found virus spread while breathing.
- The study adds to the existing body of evidence that suggests airborne transmission of the virus can play a role in virus spread.
- On July 9, WHO acknowledged that coronavirus can be airborne in closed settings that lack good ventilation.
- It can spread from one person to another in such settings on prolonged exposure.
- EXHALING RATES : The study found that COVID-19 patients exhaled coronavirus into the air at an estimated rate of 1,000-1,00,000 RNA copies/minute.
- VIRUS LEVELS : The authors write that the virus levels in exhaled breath could reach 1,00,000 to 1,00,00,000 copies per metre cube at an average breathing rate of 12 litres per minute.
- EMISSION RATES : The emission rate of the virus was found to be influenced by a few factors such as disease stage, patient activity and, possibly, age.
- HIGHEST VIRAL LOAD : They found that the SARS-CoV-2 breath emission rate into the air was the highest, up to 1,00,000 viruses per minute, during the earlier stages of COVID-19.
STUDYING THE VIRUS
- IN AIR : In these five patients, the emission rate in exhaled breath was 1,000-100,000 RNA copies/minute.
- HANDS : While the hands of all the five patients did not have any virus.
- PHONES : Two of 22 phone samples tested positive.
- TOILET PITS : The toilet pit surface tested positive for virus in the case of one patient.
- FLOOR : In all, 242 surface swab samples were collected and 13 tested positive for the virus.
THE VIRUS WAS FOUND ON FIVE CATEGORIES OF SURFACES —
- Toilet pits (16.7%, n = 12),
- Hospital floor (12.5%, n = 16),
- Other surfaces (7.4%, n = 27),
- Patient-touching surfaces (4.0%, n = 149), and
- Medical-touching surfaces (2.6%, n = 38).
- VIRUS ENTRY ROUTES : Large respiratory droplets and direct contact with contaminated surfaces are currently considered dominant routes of virus spread.
- LOW RISKS : But the present study has found that frequently touched surfaces like mobile phones have very low probability of virus presence.
- The researchers collected exhaled breath condensate samples from 27 COVID-19 patients.
- The time intervals from symptom onset to the sample collection were all less than 14 days.