Photo/Zhang Jian (NBD)

Chinese scientists have conducted an aerodynamic analysis of the novel coronavirus-laden aerosols, confirming the virus may have the potential to be transmitted via aerosols.

This study, led by Wuhan University based in the former epicenter of Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, investigated the aerodynamic nature of the novel coronavirus by measuring viral RNA in aerosols in different areas in Wuhan during the COVID-19 outbreak in February and March.

Aerosol samples were collected in the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, the temporary hospital of Wuchang, residential areas and supermarkets.

Lan Ke, director of State Key Laboratory of Virology of Wuhan University and a key member of the research team, said the concentration of the virus in aerosols detected in isolation wards and ventilated patient rooms was very low, but it was elevated in the patients' toilet areas.

For the majority of public areas under strict quarantine, the concentration level of virus aerosol was undetectable, Lan said.

The team also found the virus-laden aerosols descended to the ground or human clothes before they were carried away by humans and re-suspended to the air.

Because of limited knowledge about the aerosol transmission, many people often consider it as "an unpreventable way of airborne transmission," which makes them anxious and confused, said Lan.

The study results have indicated that room ventilation, open spaces, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of novel coronavirus in aerosols, he said.

The findings of the team were published on the website of the Nature journal on Monday.



Editor: Gao Han