New COVID-19 variants could be airborne, new study reveals

In 2020, over 200 scientists had also written a letter to WHO and had asked them to acknowledge that it was possible for COVID to spread through air.

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Amid the scare of the third wave of COVID-19, experts have been warning about new emerging coronavirus variants. Especially with variants like Delta (India), Beta (South African), and Gamma (Brazil) in the picture. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, scientists have tried to determine whether or not SARS-CoV-2 could spread through airborne transmission. However, there has been nothing definitive on the subject yet. Now, a new study has emerged which throws some light on the aspect and how COVID-19 is emerging to be spread through the air. 

Airborne transmission of COVID-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines airborne transmission as "the spread of an infectious agent caused by the dissemination of droplet nuclei (aerosols) that remain infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time". 

In 2020, over 200 scientists had also written a letter to WHO and had asked them to acknowledge that it was possible for coronavirus to spread through the air. While WHO added air as a potential mode of transmission in May 2021, there is still some debate among experts as to its accuracy.

COVID-19 is emerging to be airborne

In an initial study conducted by a research team at the University of Maryland, scientists found out that all the patients that were infected with the alpha variant of COVID-19 in 2020, had a definite rise in fine aerosol viral RNA.

The scientist, therefore, concluded that the new variant is emerging itself to be airborne. While the virus spreading through the air is a cause of worry, Maryland researchers have found that wearing masks, loosely, can prevent 77% of the coarse aerosols from spreading. It will be more effective if people wear a fitted mask on their faces, limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The study concluded by saying, "SARS-CoV-2 is evolving toward more efficient airborne transmission and loose-fitting masks provide significant but only modest source control. Therefore, until vaccination rates are very high, continued layered controls and tight-fitting masks and respirators will be necessary."

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