New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) alarmed the world about the possibility of airborne transmission of coronavirus, the head of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has now said that the airborne transmission of the deadly pathogen is indeed a ‘distinct possibility’ and suggested people to wear face masks in enclosed spaces.    

CSIR chief Shekhar C Mande, in his blog post, throw light on the airborne transmission issue and referred to findings of various studies and said, “All these emerging pieces of evidence and arguments suggest that indeed airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is a distinct possibility.”

Explaining how you can keep yourself safe, he wrote, “The answers are intuitively very straightforward – avoid large crowded gatherings, keep enclosed places like workplaces well ventilated, and most importantly, continue wearing masks even in enclosed spaces.”

Mande, on the debate of whether the virus can be transmitted through the air or not, said that “even while the debate on whether infected surfaces are a source of infection rages on, the primary route of infection can be understood to be through inhalation.  

“It is well known that when people sneeze or cough, they release droplets in the air... The larger droplets readily settle on surfaces, whereas smaller droplets or the droplet nuclei remain suspended in the atmosphere for a longer duration. The larger droplets formed by an infected individual during coughing, sneezing, talking or singing, therefore, do not travel far. They settle down quickly. However, the smaller droplets can remain suspended in the air for a considerable duration,” said Mande

The indication from the WHO on the airborne transmission of the deadly virus came earlier last month after 239 scientists from 32 different countries wrote to the WHO to have a deep insight into the issue.  

Appealing to the medical community to recognize the potential of airborne spread of COVID-19, the 239 scientists in their open letter wrote, “There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room-scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.”

The earlier and existing social distancing norms and measure to contain the spread suggested by the WHO are largely based on the understanding that the SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through large droplets which settle on a surface and infect other when they came in contact with them.

Posted By: Talib Khan