Coronavirus found on particles of air pollution.
Scientists have now found the New Coronavirus on particles of air pollution. These findings are in the preliminary stages and it is not yet ascertained whether or not Coronavirus can remain viable on pollution particles and if so, can it do so in quantities that are large enough to spread the Coronavirus disease.
This find was made by Italian scientists who made use of normal techniques for the collection of outdoor air pollution samples. These samples were collected at one industrial site and one urban site in Bergamo province. From these, in multiple samples, was identified a gene highly specific to Coronavirus.
By carrying out blind testing at an independent laboratory, this detection was confirmed.
This work was led by Leonardo Setti at the University of Bologna in Italy. Leonardo Setti said that it was imperative to investigate if the Novel Coronavirus was capable of being carried more widely by air pollution.
Leonardo Setti said:
“I am a scientist and I am worried when I don’t know. If we know, we can find a solution. But if we don’t know, we can only suffer the consequences.”
“The pollution particle is like a micro-airplane and the passengers are the droplets.”
Prof Frank Kelly at Imperial College London said:
“It is possible, but I would like to see this work repeated by two or three groups.”
There have been a couple of other research groups which have also suggested that COVID-19 could travel further in the air, via air pollution particles.
Prof Jonathan Reid at Bristol University in the UK says:
“It is perhaps not surprising that while suspended in air, the small droplets could combine with background urban particles and be carried around.”
“I think the very small change in the size of the [combined] particles is unlikely to play much of a role.”
According to Prof John Sodeau at University College Cork, in the Republic of Ireland:
“The work seems plausible. But that is the bottom line at the moment, and plausible [particle] interactions are not always biologically viable and may have no effect in the atmosphere.”