Research: viruses can spread through dust and microparticles

Viruses can spread through dust, fibers, and other microscopic particles. This became known from a study conducted by the University of California in the United States. The findings will influence the study of coronavirus and influenza, they are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Previously, researchers believed that viruses spread in several main ways – through the airborne droplets, through tissues or secondary objects such as doorknobs. However, the researchers did not know what other ways of spreading viruses are dominant.

Using an automatic meter to count airborne particles, the researchers found that uninfected guinea pigs emit up to a thousand particles per second as they move through the cage. The number of particles exhaled by the animals was much lower. However, guinea pigs with the flu virus applied to their fur can transmit the infection through the air to other animals, indicating that the virus does not have to come directly from the respiratory tract for infection.

“For most virologists and epidemiologists it will come as a shock that viruses are carried not only through droplets in the air but also through dust. Our hypothesis is that the transmission of the virus by airborne droplets is always due to respiratory droplets that are released when coughing, sneezing, or talking. Dust transmission opens up entirely new areas of research and has profound implications for how we interpret laboratory experiments as well as epidemiological research”.

William Ristenpart, University of California

In addition, the scientists tested whether microscopic fibers can carry infectious viruses. They treated paper towels with the flu virus, let them dry, and then crumpled them in front of an automatic particle sizer. It turned out that this action releases up to 900 particles per second in a range of sizes that can be inhaled.

Earlier, the Novosibirsk State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology “Vector” began the second stage of testing a vaccine against coronavirus. The scientists reported that all volunteers were doing well. Scientists attributed the importance of several vaccine options to greater safety. 86 volunteers will receive the drug in trials approved by Rospotrebnadzor. Scientists are monitoring their health.