Coronavirus Can Linger in Air of Crowded Places: Study
- April, 28, 2020 - 10:56
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The life-threatening coronavirus lingers in the air of crowded spaces and rooms that lack ventilation, researchers say.
Chinese Experts in Wuhan analysed air samples from different parts of two hospitals.
Results showed the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was undetectable everywhere except two areas 'prone to crowding'.
Researchers found viral particles floating in the air of hospital toilets, which had very little ventilation, the Daily Mail reported.
They also discovered especially high concentrations in the rooms where medical staff put on and took off protective gear.
latter suggests the virus can latch onto clothing and become airborne again when when masks, gloves and gowns are removed.
Researchers behind the study say the findings highlight the importance of ventilation, limiting crowds and proper disinfection.
Scientists around the world are scrambling to understand how the virus, which has now killed more than 200,000 people, sheds and spreads.
There is debate about whether enough viral particles can survive in the air to infect people who breathe them in hours later.
The latest study, led by researchers at Wuhan University, suggest it may be possible, without proper ventilation.
It follows a wealth of studies that have suggested the highly contagious disease does not just spread via droplets in a cough or sneeze.
Ke Lan, professor and director of the State Key Laboratory of Virology at the university, and colleagues set up so-called aerosol traps in and around two hospitals in the city.
They could not find detectable levels of the virus in the corridors of wards and patients' rooms.
But they did discoverer them in toilets and two areas that had large crowds passing through, including an indoor space near one of the hospitals.
Writing in the study, the scientists said: 'Although we have not established the infectivity of the virus detected in these hospital areas, we propose that SARS-CoV-2 may have the potential to be transmitted via aerosols.
'Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols.'
It comes on the back of a US study which hinted that coronavirus could spread through the air and remain contagious for hours.
The Nebraska University paper found high levels of the bug lurking in the air in hospital rooms long after infected patients had left.
What's more is that traces of the coronavirus were also discovered in hospital corridors outside patients' rooms, where staff had been coming in and out.
researchers behind the study say the finding highlights the importance of protective clothing for healthcare workers.
The researchers found viral particles in the air both inside the rooms and in the hallways outside of the rooms.
Their finding suggests people may be able to contract the bug without ever being in direct close proximity to an infected person.
The study's authors said this highlights the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Meanwhile, access to PPE for frontline NHS staff is getting worse despite Government promises to increase supplies.
The Royal College of Physicians said those working in high-risk areas still could not always access long-sleeved disposable gowns and full-face face visors. It said the shortages had worsened in the last three weeks.
In a survey of 2,129 college members last Wednesday, 27 per cent reported being unable to access the kit they needed for managing COVID-19 patients, compared with just over a fifth (22 per cent) of doctors in a similar poll on April 1.