New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: The global grappling against the coronavirus pandemic is expected to reel under struggles of various types even after the countries gradually start opening up and making way for economic normalcy to take shape. 

Yet, the way the vile contagion virus transmits continues to remain a cause of concern. The necessary social distancing measures and cleanliness apparatus required at every next step at the individual and social level is keeping the authorities at its toes, with worldwide confirmed COVID-19 patients having already touched the 4.3 million mark and over 3,00,000 deaths. The significant worry is whether COVID-19 can be transmitted via air or not, like the common cold? 

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So far so long, the world knows that the virus transmits through air droplets from the infected patient, while coughing, sneezing or even casual talking. On certain surfaces, the virus can be effectively viable, ranging from certain hours to many days at a stretch. Worrisome enough, some reports even hint towards the airborne nature of the disease, implying that the virus can be transmitted through the minutely lightweight objects suspended in the air.

Understanding the airborne viral transmission

By airborne, we mean the transmission of infection through aerosols. Aerosols are tiny respiratory droplets that remain suspended in the air for longer durations. In respiratory infections such as MERS and SARS, the airborne infection transmission has been under significant consideration over the period.

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Human beings, however, can inhale particles up to 100 micrometres. Aerosols are usually smaller in size than this and the pathogenic agents in these aerosols can travel varying distances depending on its viability.

Interestingly, on such a common yet concerning a matter, there are minimal peer-reviewed studies reported in the media. There are some non-peer reviewed analyses which form the most of basis of COVID-19's airborne transmission.

One such rare study from New England Journal of Medicine suggests that coronavirus can remain in aerosols for at least three hours. Though the degree of contagiousness was found out to be low (as compared to other modes of COVID transmission) but the social distancing measures as well as wearing of masks can minimise the risk of contracting the virus through air. 

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The report says that the closed rooms with the least ventilation could inhabit the transmission conditions of the virus efficiently. 

Yet, the basic mode of transmission remains coming in contact with the infected person, therefore, the cleanliness apparatus being maintained at the top during the times of this pandemic can certainly act as a deterrent against COVID-19.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma