Geneva: As the number of coronavirus cases is on rise every day with over 11.5 crore, In an alarming update, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that there is evidence emerging of airborne spread of coronavirus.
An open letter to the medical community by 239 scientists which was published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, urged the medical community, as well as the national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne transmission of covid-19.
The letter showed evidence that the microdroplets and virus particles released by infected patients, during exhalation, talking and coughing are small enough to remain in the air and pose a risk of exposure at up to 2 meters distance. They also said that they are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.
So far, the disease was considered to have transmitted through droplets that were expelled from the nose and mouth which would quickly sink to the ground.
Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection and prevention control, said that they have been looking into the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission, but it is not definitive.
“The possibility of airborne spread of the virus in public settings, especially in specific conditions such as crowds, closed, poorly ventilated settings, should not be ruled out,” Allegranzi said, in a virtual press conference. “However, evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this.”
WHO’s technical lead of covid-19, Marie Van Kerkhove, said the UN health agency is producing scientific notice consolidating the growing knowledge around transmission, and a brief will be issued in the coming days outlining everything they have in regard to the airborne transmission.