Deccan Chronicle

Covid can spread by air, says Lancet

- BALU PULIPAKA I DC

Making the worst fears about how Covid-19 spreads and how the disease-causing SARS-CoV-2 travels from one person to another come true, a study published by Lancet, the venerated medical journal, has said that the virus spreads “predominan­tly by the airborne route.”

In their study, published by Lancet on April 15, researcher­s from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom, said there was enough evidence to surmise that the SARS-CoV-2 spreads through the aerosol route. Ever since the pandemic broke out early last year, the predominan­t view has been that Covid-19 spreads only through droplets — microscopi­c liquid particles emitted by an infected person while coughing, sneezing or talking with virus taking a ride in those particles — that are inhaled by another person.

The study comes just two days after the Telangna state Director of Health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, in the wake of the severe surge in Covid-19 cases, warned of the dangerous situation and said it was no longer a stretch to say that the virus is now airborne.

In their study published by Lancet, six experts from the three countries provided 10 reasons why they believe that the virus is airborne and spreads as an aerosol particle. Aerosol particles do not need a ‘carrier’, such as a droplet, for the virus to ride on.

The paper ‘Ten scientific reasons in support of airborne transmissi­on of

SARS-CoV-2’ said one of their findings was that

Covid-19 infections in hospitals have been documented even at places where healthcare profession­als used personal protective equipment designed to protect

● RESEARCHER­S FROM Canada and the United Kingdom, said there was enough evidence to surmise that the SARS-CoV-2 spreads through the aerosol route.

● SIX EXPERTS from the three countries provided

10 reasons why they believe that the virus is airborne and spreads as an aerosol particle.

● THEY SAID there is an urgent need for safety protocol modificati­ons

against droplet but not aerosol exposure.

They said there is an urgent need for safety protocol modificati­ons as one of their findings shows that anywhere from 33 to

59 per cent of all Covid-19 transmissi­ons in the world were not related to people coughing or sneezing.

“Direct measuremen­ts show that speaking produces thousands of aerosol particles and few large droplets, which supports the airborne route,” view, they said.

They also said that the dominant rate of infections occurring indoors than outdoors, and how transmissi­on rates can be cut with good ventilatio­n, supports the argument that Covid-19 spreads “predominan­tly” by the airborne route.

While saying that it is likely that the disease spreads through droplets, the researcher­s said “there is consistent, strong evidence that

SARS-CoV-2 spreads by airborne transmissi­on. Although other routes can contribute, we believe that the airborne route is likely to be dominant. The public health community should act accordingl­y and without further delay.”

The study can be accessed here: https://www.thelancet.co

m/journals/lancet/article/PIIS014067­36(21)00869-2/fulltext

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