Study in India shows novel coronavirus does not spread far away from patients

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Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | January 5, 2021 1:07:00 pm

Covid spread, SARS-CoV2 in air, Covid spread in hospitals, Covid-19, study on SARS-CoV2, Pune news, India news, Indian expressThe alarmingly increasing number of cases of COVID-19 globally raised the possibility of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

A first study to understand the transmission routes of SARS-CoV2 and risks for healthcare personnel and visitors to hospitals in the country has shown that the virus does not seem to spread farther away from patients – especially if they are asymptomatic. However, chances of airborne transmission depend on the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the room, their symptomatic status and duration of exposure, a study published in medRxiv preprint has said.

Scientists at Hyderabad and Mohali decided to understand the transmission characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 as initially contact and droplets were considered as major modes of transmission for the SARS-CoV-2. Hence, hand washing and social distancing were the main measures suggested along with wearing mask, to avoid contracting the disease. The alarmingly increasing number of cases of Covid-19 globally raised the possibility of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. More so, when it has been observed that SARS-CoV-2 is quite stable in aerosols.

Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, told The Indian Express that scientists at Hyderabad and Institute of Microbial Technology at Chandigarh analyzed air samples collected from various enclosures in hospitals at Hyderabad and Mohali and performed closed room experiments with Covid-19 positive individuals.

“Our results indicate that the demarcation of hospital areas into Covid and non-Covid areas is a successful strategy to prevent cross infections. In neutral environmental conditions, the virus does not seem to spread farther away from the patients, especially if they are asymptomatic, giving objective evidence for the effectiveness of physical distancing in curbing the spread of the epidemic,” Dr Mishra said.

Some international studies have provided evidence for the presence of viable SARS-CoV-2 in the air samples collected from a hospital room with Covid-19 patients even in the absence of any aerosol-generating procedure while some studies have shown that in hospitals, droplets containing SARS-CoV-2, with strong directional airflow, can spread the virus farther than 2 meters.

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