Aerosol particles containing novel coronavirus are likely to be infectious, says study

Mumbai | Updated on July 22, 2020 Published on July 22, 2020

Airborne transmission of virus is possible, says University of Nebraska study

A new study suggests that airborne transmission of novel coronavirus is possible.

The study conducted by the University of Nebraska has been published on a pre-print website. It suggests that the transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus responsible for Covid-19 can occur even through microdroplets (less than five microns).

The virus present in such microdroplets can replicate in laboratory conditions.

Researchers had collected aerosol samples around six Covid-19 patients admitted into mixed acuity wards in April to study aerosol particles and analyse the nature of the infection.

“The infectious nature of aerosol collected in this study further suggests that airborne transmission of Covid-19 is possible and that aerosol prevention measures are necessary to effectively stem the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the study said.

Multiple studies have suggested the possibility of the novel coronavirus being airborne.

WHO updated brief

The World Health Organization earlier this month had issued an updated scientific brief on virus transmission including more details on the airborne transmission of the virus. The brief had come after 239 scientists had written an open letter to the health agency urging it to look into the possibility of airborne transmission.


According to WHO, the airborne transmission of the virus can occur in specific settings including certain medical procedures or closed settings such as restaurants or gyms. It has further called for more research into the airborne transmission of the infection.

“In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out,” it had said.

The University of Nebraska study is still considered to be a preliminary study and is yet to be peer-reviewed.

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Published on July 22, 2020
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