Covid is evolving ‘to become better at spreading in the air’: Scientists find Alpha-infected volunteers exhale up to 100 TIMES more virus than people who caught original Wuhan strain

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  • Kent covid strain is 18 times more transmitted in air than earlier strain
  • And the delta version is even more permeable, experts warn in a study
  • Findings suggest that ventilation and masks should be used in the fight against Kovid

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Scientists say that the coronavirus is evolving to spread better through the air.

People infected with the alpha version, which triggered Britain’s devastating second wave in January, expel 100 times more virus into the air than those who caught the original Wuhan strain.


This is according to researchers at the University of Maryland, who say the delta circulates even more easily through the air.

Lead author Dr Don Milton said the findings suggest ‘just keep getting better at traveling in the air’.

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The study, which was based on monitoring the air that infected volunteers released into a machine, also claimed that cloth and surgical masks could halve the amount of virus an infected person exhaled.

Study participants breathed in a machine called Gesundhet-II – for 30 minutes without wearing a mask and for 30 minutes wearing a mask – to determine how face coverings affected the spread of the virus

Experts focused on the alpha strain – which emerged in Kent last autumn and became effective in the UK by January and in the US by March.

That’s because it was the prevailing tension when he did his research.

Delta, which was first observed in India last October, overtook alpha to become the prevailing strain in Britain and the US by July.

This study published in the journal clinical infectious diseaseScreened 49 people infected with alpha and earlier strains of the virus – between May 2020 and April 2021 – who were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

The participants breathed in a machine called Gesundhit-II for 30 minutes without wearing a mask and 30 minutes without wearing a mask.

Schools to test using air purifiers and UV lights to make classrooms even safer in fight against COVID

Schools in England have installed air purifiers and UV lights in classrooms as part of a COVID-fighting trial.

Equipment has been installed in 30 schools in Bradford to assess whether they prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other respiratory diseases.

It will also assess how feasible the technologies are to be implemented in primary schools and is expected to yield first results by the end of the year.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said in August that whether the scheme is implemented in other schools across the country depends on test results.

The study is supported with £1.8million funding from the Department of Health and Social Care, which will consider the final results of the study once available.

It is being operated by the Center for Applied Education Research and may lead to the introduction of technologies in schools from 2022.

The randomized trial will include a third of the schools equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, a third with a UV purifier, and a third without any equipment to serve as a control group.


Volunteers were asked to either repeat the alphabet three times while participating in the study, or to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ three times.

They found that the amount of virus ejected by the alpha-infected people was 43 to 100 times greater than in the earlier strains, depending on what type of particles the experts looked at.

But it has previously been found that people infected with Alpha have a higher viral load, which means that swabs taken from their nose and throat contain more of the virus.

When the researchers adjusted for this, they claimed that the levels of alpha circulating in the air were still 18 times higher than in earlier versions of COVID.

But the infected people brought out 48 percent less of the virus when wearing masks, they found.

This finding was true for both people wearing surgical or cloth masks.

Researchers have not yet enrolled anyone who has been infected with the Delta strain.

But they claimed that their findings suggest there would be an ‘extra large increase in aerosol shedding’ in people under stress.

Despite air transmission of the virus being widely recognized as the main way the virus spreads, studies on how well it spreads and the effectiveness of face masks are lacking, researchers said. he said.

The researchers said their study suggests that a ‘layered approach’ that includes improved ventilation, UV air hygiene and tight-fitting masks – with vaccine rollouts – is ‘to protect people on jobs and in indoor spaces in public. important’, the researchers said. .

The government announced last month that it installed air purifiers and UV lights in 30 classrooms as part of a trial to determine whether they have curbed the spread of the virus, with results expected later this year. have hope.

Dr Milton said: ‘Our study provides further evidence of the importance of airborne transmission.

‘We know the delta version airing now is even more contagious than the alpha version.

‘Our research indicates that as variants are becoming better able to travel through the air, we should provide better ventilation and wear tight-fitting masks, in addition to vaccination, to help prevent the spread of the virus. could.

Dr Jennifer German, assistant clinical professor in applied environmental health at the university and study co-author, said: ‘The take-home message from this paper is that the coronavirus may be in your breath, getting better at being in your It is exhaled, and using a mask makes you less likely to inhale it onto others.’


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