Danger from the air: scientists warn of Corona-aerosols

Wash your hands, everyday masks, and clearance rules: To protect against the Coronavirus, there are many recommendations. A possible risk of contagion is according to the view of science, the Transmission of learning, but so far too little attention: so-called aerosols. These are mixtures of solid or liquid Airborne particles that remain in the room air. In the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases” on demand around 240 researchers, therefore, to take the risk of airborne transmission is more serious than in the past. The criticism of the researchers is primarily aimed at authorities, public health organisations and the world health organization WHO.

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It is known that some viruses of smallpox, such as wind or measles can be transmitted through aerosols in the air of the room. To an infected Person for long periods of time in a closed room, pushes you when you Breathe, or Speak the smallest particles that float in the air of the room. This can infect a subsequent Person – without that the people have ever had personal contact. It is unclear whether such infections occur in the current Coronavirus. It is presumed that shared space may lead the air to a Transfer – out contagions suggest that the performances in the Choir and in Restaurants. Special air circulating systems as they are used in battle, seem to increase the risk of infection.

The researchers argue that there is to all of the transmission paths of the Coronavirus little evidence. The same is true for the droplet – and smear infection, on the current protection measures. The recommendations should be updated, therefore, and the Aerosol-to be taken risk to a greater extent in the view, call the scientists, who come predominantly from the fields of chemistry, physics, and Engineering. Infection through floating particles could be due to a good room ventilation or the avoidance of accumulations in confined spaces and public transport, is prevented.

Time for “pragmatic decisions”

Isabella Eckerle, Department of infectious diseases at the University of Geneva itself was not involved in the publication, and warns us not to lead the discussion on a purely academic level. Now it is important “to make pragmatic decisions with what we know about the Virus”.

The Coronavirus is not a classical Aerosol-transmitted pathogens, such as measles or chicken pox, so Eckerle. “These pathogens are extremely contagious and can survive for long in the air. You can infect yet, when one enters a room in which hours have previously stopped a Diseased, without having met this Ill ever personally. Such a scenario is in the case of Sars-CoV-2 not to accept.”

Compared to the early days of the epidemic, there is now more Knowledge about how the pathogen spreads. At the beginning of the epidemic, Transmission via surfaces has been overestimated “a little”, says the expert. To the Diseased, the Transmission by the proximity and the same air in a room to be underestimated somewhat. “We have now described a lot of situations where it is in the Transmission has come for family celebrations, rehearsal, the gym, and these situations must now be in the prevention of special attention.”

The WHO-call “urgent”

Professional filter masks can prevent infection through aerosols though. A recommendation for this type of masks in the population, however, is not “reasonable” or “feasible,” says Eckerle. Rather, it is to prevent super-spreading Events in closed rooms.

“Premises need to be ventilated regularly, not least in the classroom, rooms in homes for the elderly and the sick room,” emphasized Clemens Wendtner, chief of infectious diseases and tropical medicine, Munich-Schwabing on Munich’s Klinikum. “Further measures, air filter systems, and the application of UV would light for germ count reduction by aerosols – special measures, which are at least desirable in vulnerable areas such as hospitals and old people’s homes.”

Wendtner regrets that there is still no General warning to the WHO coronavirus infections by aerosols. “In the face of still rising global infection would be numbers at the same time the implementation of easing measures in some countries, a call of the WHO for the protection against Sars-CoV-2-containing aerosols is desirable, and from a scientific point of view, are urgently needed.”

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) refers in the current version of the Coronavirus-plug-in a letter to a possible contamination by aerosols: “the main route of transmission for Sars-CoV-2, the respiratory ingestion of virus-containing liquid particles which are produced during Breathing, coughing, Speaking and Sneezing is”, – stated in it. And more: The longer you stay in “small, poorly or non-ventilated spaces” could increase the risk of infection, even if the minimum distance of two meters will be adhered to. Transfers of fresh air would, however, “rarely”. The concentration of virus-based particles in the air is reduced by the Wind quickly.

Sources: “Clinical Infectious Diseases: It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19″ / quotes according to the Science Media centre / the Robert Koch Institute

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