Covid-19 study: CSIR labs provide new inputs on airborne transmission, physical distancing, public transport, toilets

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New Delhi | January 06, 2021 11:37 AM

Covid-19 study: Scientists at CSIR-run Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad stated that chances of airborne transmission in confined areas were higher if more number of Covid-19 infected individuals are present in those areas.

Covid 19 India Study Delhi MetroBased on theCovid-19 study, short-duration travel in Metro or local trains or buses is likely to be safe. (IE image)

Covid-19 study: Even though India is gearing up to start the Covid-19 vaccination, maintaining sufficient physical distance is pivotal to avoid getting infected by the Coronavirus. The possibility and risk of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 become low if one maintains sufficient physical distance and avoids prolonged interaction with Covid-19 positive individuals, according to findings by the Centre of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-run laboratories in Mohali and Hyderabad, as reported by The Indian Express.

Scientists at CSIR-run Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad stated that chances of airborne transmission in confined areas were higher if more number of Covid-19 infected individuals are present in those areas, therefore, increasing the risk of exposure. However, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not traceable at a distance more than four feet from the Covid-19 infected individuals, The Indian Express report says.

The study at CSIR labs in Mohali and Hyderabad also pointed out the effectiveness of masks and demarcation Covid and non-Covid areas in hospitals. Director-General of CSIR Shekhar Mande has revealed that these things were known but more data was required from a scientific perspective.

The findings were based on 64 air samples collected from different locations in six hospitals in Hyderabad and Mohali and 17 from confined rooms which were occupied by Covid infected individuals who didn’t wear masks and were told to talk on the phone or with one another. Apart from these, four samples were also collected from marked Covid areas of hospitals, and one from the closed room.

The study reveals that the Covid-19 virus could not be detected in any of the non-Covid areas. The Covid-positivity rate was higher when the room had more number of Covid infected patients. However, three-fourth of Covid positive samples were found at least 10 feet away from the nearest patient. This indicates that the long-term presence of Covid patients in confined areas may lead to an increase “in aerosol burden in the air”, the CSIR study says.

However, the Covid-19 virus could not be traced at a distance of even 4 feet when COVID positive patients spent a short time (20 minutes) in the room, the study reveals.

Based on the study, short-duration travel in Metro or local trains or buses is likely to be safe. In Public toilets, one must wear masks while using these. Once someone uses a public toilet, the same toilet should be reused only 30 minutes after the first use.

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