As the world is grappling with the novel coronavirus pandemic, trying to discover a timely vaccine, people are also worried what if the virus is airborne.
A new research will look into the threat the COVID-19 virus throws and whether it can traverse through the air. The researchers for this, will collect air samples from ICU care units, hospital corridors, waiting rooms and places where healthcare workers are present. They will then further probe whether airborne transmission is contributing to the spread of the disease.
According to Dr. Shekhar Mande, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), this study will throw immense light on the possibility of airborne transmission of coronavirus.
Few days back, 239 scientists from 32 countries had sent a letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to warn them about the mounting evidenceabout the virusbeingairborne and it plays a role in the transmission of Covid-19.
“There will be multiple samples that will be collected on several days. Two CSIR institutes will be involved in the study – Institute of Microbial Technology at Chandigarh and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. This is being done as we want to ensure that there are matching results,” said Dr. Mande.
So, is a mask enough to curb the transmission of COVID-19?
If it is proven that the coronavirus can travel through the air, there will be absolute chaos in the world, because it will completely change the game.
The scientists had sent their letter only after finding significant evidence for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distance. It proves that the virus can travel in droplets and can hang around in the air before dropping to the surface in a few minutes.
The WHO had alreadysaid that coronavirus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
“I am not a signatory to the letter but have posted it on the CSIR website. I believe we need to explore the possibility and if we say it is not airborne, then need to prove it otherwise,” said Dr. Mande.
Even in his blog post, the CSIR chief had referred to the findings of numerous studies and mentioned that the emerging pieces of evidence and arguments suggest that airborne transmission of SARS-COV-2 is possible.
Doctors looking to repurpose existing drugs as treatment for COVID-19
Researchers involved in Sepsivac trials on Covid-19 patients have said that they are nearing conclusion. It will be a huge respite if anything tangible comes out of this.
On this, Dr. Mande said, that if the results are encouraging, approval may be asked from the Drug Controller and General of India to conduct trials on a larger group of people. “The remaining trials are underway at AIIMS New Delhi and AIIMS Bhopal,” he added.