COVID-19: Coronavirus Spreads More Indoors, Confirms CCMB-CSIR Study

The scientists found coronavirus in ICU as well as non-ICU sections of hospitals. This clearly showed that patients shed the virus in the air irrespective of the severity of the infection.

The study has said that the exact mechanism of the spread of coronavirus is still not confirmed.
The study has said that the exact mechanism of the spread of coronavirus is still not confirmed.

A collaborative study by scientists from CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad and CSIR-IMTech, Chandigarh has confirmed the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. This substantiates the findings of previous studies. Another important of the study was that the concentration of the virus RNA is higher in indoor air as compared to open spaces.

The study has said that the exact mechanism of the spread of coronavirus is still not confirmed. It was earlier thought to spread by surfaces. Epidemiologists found that countries that strictly followed masks protocol during the pandemic were affected less severely.

The study confirmed the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, after the scientists analysed the coronavirus’ genome content from air samples collected from different areas occupied by COVID-19 patients, including hospitals, closed rooms in which only coronavirus patients spent a short period of time, and houses of home-quarantined COVID-19 patients, it said.

It was also noticed that the coronavirus could be frequently detected in air around patients infected with the virus. Also, the positivity rate increased with the number of patients present on the premise.

The scientists found coronavirus in ICU as well as non-ICU sections of hospitals. This clearly showed that patients shed the virus in the air irrespective of the severity of the infection.

The study also found viable coronavirus in the air that could infect living cells, and these viruses could spread over a long range of distances, it said.

“Our results show that coronavirus can stay in the air for some time in absence of ventilation in closed spaces. We find that the positivity rate of finding the virus in air was 75 per cent when two or more COVID-19 patients were present in a room, in contrast to 15.8 per cent when one or no COVID-19 patients occupied the room in these studies,” said Shivranjani Moharir, a scientist involved in the study.

“Our observations are concurrent with previous studies that suggest that the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is higher in indoor air as compared to outdoor air; and in indoor, it is higher in hospital and healthcare settings that host a larger number of COVID-19 patients, as compared to that in community indoor settings,” Moharir said.

Rakesh Mishra, the lead scientist of the work, and Director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society said that air surveillance is a useful means to predict the infection potential in spaces like classrooms, meeting halls and others.

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