Breaking: COVID-19 is spreadable through the air

Let’s recapitulate. COVID-19? What?!

You may be more familiar with the term corona virus. The virus which causes COVID-19 is also called SARS-CoV-2, the abbreviation for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. Another well-known term is the ‘novel coronavirus’.

In order to survive, viruses are known for their multiplication. SARS-CoV-2 spreads from one person to another through droplets, e.g. when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even just talks. These so-called contaminated droplets would, in most cases, drop on a surface or to the floor. However, according to a recent study[1], COVID-19 apparently remains airborne longer than thought.

New research finds that COVID-19 is stable for several hours in aerosols.

This recent study, published in the medRxiv depository, has proven that the novel coronavirus is stable up to three hours post aerosolization. In addition, the virus can remain alive up to 24 hours on cardboard, up to four hours on copper surfaces and up to three days on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel.

This study still awaits peer group review, though the results found, which indicate a notable contrast to previously published information, are not insignificant.

More reason to believe aerosol transmission of the virus is real

Another research[2], conducted in Wuhan hospitals during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, confirms the findings talked about above. In this study they tested the air that resulted in deposition samples inside an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and an air sample in a patient toilet which tested positive for COVID-19. Once again, these findings give reasons to suspect the aerosol transmission of the virus is more prevailing than suspected.

Airborne or not?

There is no consensus yet whether the corona virus is only transmittable from droplets or whether it should be called airborne. However, airborne or not, the water components of droplets dry up in the air and residuals of the floating virus (also called droplet nuclei) remain living. Those remaining bits of the floating virus are lighter and thus able to travel long distances.

Airborne precautions

Some aerosol generating procedures in medical care facilities can cause particles to stay in the air for a longer time. Since the recent study, the WHO considers airborne precautions for medical staff.

“It’s very important that health-care workers take additional precautions when they’re working on patients and doing those procedures.” – Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of World Health Organization (WHO) emerging diseases and zoonosis unit.

Safeguarding the vulnerable ones

Places with people close to each other, e.g. schools, hospitals, daycare centers, retirement homes etc., are a greenhouse for any viruses and bacteria to circulate. If a person is already weaker by any other infection, he or she will be more vulnerable to, among others, the COVID-19. It is therefore vital to keep air uncontaminated in those places.

How to keep a place, room, building… clean?

First of all, the normal precautions are still very important, such as washing hands, disinfecting equipment, surfaces and clothing. In addition, any air decontamination should be taken into considering, on top of the measures talked about above.

To help reduce the risk of further infection in air quality sensitive premises, InsightAir offers the right decontamination units. The Virus Killers from InsightAir are equipped to destroy and eliminate all airborne microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, VOC’s, mould, fungi and toxic gas.

[1] The new study from National Institutes of Health (NIH), CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.

[2] Yuan Liu, Ph.D.,1, †, Zhi Ning, Ph.D.,2, †, *, Yu Chen, Ph.D.,1, †, *, Ming Guo, Ph.D.,1, †, Yingle

Liu, Ph.D.,1 , Nirmal Kumar Gali, Ph.D.,2 , Li Sun, M.Sc.,2, Yusen Duan, M.Sc.,3, Jing Cai,Ph.D.,4, Dane Westerdahl2 , D.Env.,2, Xinjin Liu, M.Sc.,1, Kin-fai Ho, Ph.D.,5, *, Haidong Kan,Ph.D.,4, *, Qingyan Fu, Ph.D.,3, *, Ke Lan, MD, PhD, 1, *