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Unanswered questions on the airborne transmission of COVID‑19

Unanswered questions on the airborne transmission of COVID‑19 [full text PDF] Zhaolin Gu1 · Jie Han · Liyuan Zhang · Hongliang Wang3 · Xilian Luo · Xiangzhao Meng · Yue Zhang · Xinyi Niu1 · Yang Lan  · Shaowei Wu  · Junji Cao · Eric Lichtfouse. Received: 16 June 2022 / Accepted: 20 December 2022. “Policies and measures to control pandemics are often failing. While biological factors controlling transmission are usually well explored, little is known about the environmental drivers of transmission and infection. For instance, respiratory droplets and aerosol particles are crucial vectors for the airborne transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, the causation agent of the coronavirus 2019 pandemic (COVID-19). Once expectorated, respiratory droplets interact with atmospheric particulates that influence the viability and transmission of the novel coronavirus, yet there is little knowledge on this process or its consequences on virus transmission and infection. Here we review the effects of atmospheric particulate properties, vortex zones, and air pollution on virus survivability and transmission. We found that particle size, chemical constituents, electrostatic charges, and the moisture content of airborne particles can have notable effects on virus transmission, with higher survival generally associated with larger particles, yet some viruses are better preserved on small particles. Some chemical constituents and surface-adsorbed chemical species may damage peptide bonds in viral proteins and impair virus stability. Electrostatic charges and water content of atmospheric particulates may affect the adherence of virion particles and possibly their viability.

In addition, vortex zones and human thermal plumes are major environmental factors altering the aerodynamics of buoyant particles in air, which can strongly influence the transport of airborne particles positive correlations between COVID-19 infection and mortality with air pollution, of which particulate matter is a common constituent that may have a central role in the airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus.”

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