The study, led by Department of Applied Mechanics Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, was published in Physics of Journal.
Coronavirus: Pacing one’s breath is often advised by elders and doctors as it has numerous health benefits. However, amid the coronavirus pandemic, it can cause problems. According to a new study by Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras), if the breathing frequency of a person decreases, then the chances of droplets carrying the novel coronavirus settling deep within the lungs significantly increase. The study, led by Department of Applied Mechanics Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, was published in Physics of Journal.
In a statement issued by the institution, Prof Panchagnula said that a gap in the understanding of pulmonological systemic diseases was opened up due to COVID-19, and the study they he conducted along with his two research scholars, helped in solving the mystery behind the transportation and deposition of particles deep within the lungs. The physical process of the transportation of aerosol particles has been demonstrated by the study, the professor added.
The research team wanted to understand in depth the impact of the flow rate of a virus-laden droplet on the deposition of the virus in the person’s lungs. The research stated that low breathing rate as well as holding of breath could increase the chances of virus deposition in the lungs. Apart from this, the team had earlier also previously found that the uptake of aerosols varied in each individual, indicating why the susceptibility to the disease was higher among some people.
In the statement, the institution said that infections like coronavirus, which is airborne, spread immensely through coughing and sneezing, as they dispel a large amount of tiny droplets at once. The team conducted the research by imitating the dynamics of the droplets in the lungs. They studied the droplet movement in capillaries having the same diameter as that of the bronchioles. The aerosols were generated with the help of water mixed with fluorescent particles and a nebulizer, and the movement and deposition of the particles were then tracked by studying the fluorescent aerosols.
The team also found that the aerosols were more likely to be deposited in longer bronchioles as compared to shorter ones.