Science

Air quality influences waves of Covid-19 contamination: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2020 Published on November 25, 2020

High pollution may influence SARS-CoV-2 contamination.   -  Bloomberg

High concentrations of particles less than 2.5 micrometers may modulate or pronounce the waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination

Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the ETH Zürich conducted a study to determine the correlation between elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of Covid-19.

The study, published in the journal Earth Systems and Environment, suggested that high concentrations of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size may modulate, or even pronounce, the waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination.

According to the researchers, the increase in fine particles is generally amplified by air temperature inversions, characterised by fog situations, or by Saharan dust intrusions.

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“This time lag is surprising, but also suggests that something else than just the mere interaction of people may promote the transmission of the virus, and particularly the severity of the infection,” says Mario Rohrer, a researcher at the Institute for Environmental Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences of UNIGE and Director of Meteodat.

The Swiss research team, through their study, showed that acute concentrations of fine particles, especially those smaller than 2.5 micrometers, cause inflammation of the respiratory, pulmonary and cardiovascular tracts and thicken the blood.

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“In combination with a viral infection, these inflammatory factors can lead to a serious progression of the disease. Inflammation also promotes the attachment of the virus to cells,” he said.

Rohrer added: “This has already been demonstrated for influenza and an Italian study found coronavirus RNA on fine particles. All this remains to be demonstrated, of course, but it is a likely possibility.”

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Published on November 25, 2020
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