As we have already highlighted in previous articles on the health of systems and the role of amplifiers, media attention has not yet focused sufficiently on the risk of the airborne spread of the pathogen in indoor environments.
Nevertheless, we would like to reiterate that there is clear empirical and experimental evidence that this risk cannot be ruled out.
Back in its March report, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) recommended the frequent ventilation of rooms as a good precautionary practice, and an experimental study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also demonstrated that both a strain of Sars-Cov (responsible for the SARS epidemic in 2003) and Sars-Cov 2 (responsible for COVID-19) are able to remain in suspension in the air for at least three hours under laboratory conditions. This was the same study that reported the virus’s ability to remain viable on surfaces (plastic, paper, stainless steel, copper etc.).
Sars-Cov was already on the radar of epidemiologists and experts in infectious diseases due to its ability to spread throughout the environment, and it seems that its “relative” currently in circulation retains these same characteristics. This same study suggests that the differences in the epidemiological characteristics of these two viruses probably derive from other factors, including the high viral load in the upper respiratory tract and the potential risk of transmission by those infected even when asymptomatic.
These results indicate that aerosol transmission of Sars-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces for up to days. These results echo those obtained with Sars-Cov, in which these forms of transmission were associated with nosocomial spread and super-spreading events and should therefore provide important information for pandemic mitigation efforts.
Press agencies have been reporting in the last few hours that the WHO is also considering reviewing its protocols in light of the further confirmation with this evidence. We mustn’t be short sighted: the risk of aerosol transmission is real, and in indoor environments ventilation systems, if not appropriately used and maintained, will inevitably become vehicles for the spread and amplification of contaminated air (see also “The Fight Against COVID-19: room ventilation“).
Putting your trust in a company with proven experience and with certified tools and technology which meet regulations is also crucial to minimising the risk of transmission of coronavirus and other pathogens.
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