Monday, May 10, 2021
Home Life Style Health & Fitness 'Ventilation, Masks Best Safeguards Against Airborne Covid', Says Prof Srinath Reddy

‘Ventilation, Masks Best Safeguards Against Airborne Covid’, Says Prof Srinath Reddy

The paper written by six experts, says that the evidence supporting airborne transmission is overwhelming, and evidence supporting large droplet transmission is almost non-existent

A recently published report in The Lancet stated SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is an airborne pathogen. The paper written by six experts from the US, the UK, and Canada, says that the evidence supporting airborne transmission is overwhelming, and evidence supporting large droplet transmission is almost non-existent.

Speaking to IANS Professor Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India said: “While the virus can spread by air even in the open, the flow of air currents will not allow large viral clouds to form and hang around while such clouds can form easily and waft around slowly in closed spaces.” He stressed wearing a proper mask and eye protection to prevent virus entering through the nose, mouth, or eyes, and ventilation a key ally in keeping the viral load low. Excerpts from the interview:

Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.

Q: A report recently published in The Lancet stated SARS-CoV-2, is an airborne pathogen, isn’t it worrying? If Covid is airborne, wouldn’t it require an overhaul of modification of established Covid-19 safety protocols?

A: I believe that both droplet and aerosol modes of transmission are important. Droplet transmission occurs in close proximity in open or closed spaces while the airborne infection is more likely as viral clouds form in closed rooms. While the virus can spread by air even in the open, the flow of air currents will not allow large viral clouds to form and hang around while such clouds can form easily and waft around slowly in closed spaces. In either case, wearing a proper mask and eye protection is likely to prevent the virus from entering through the nose, mouth, or eyes. Ventilation is a key ally in keeping the viral load low.

 

Covid
We will need better quality masks or double masking. Indoor ventilation systems have to be improved. Pixabay

Q: The Lancet paper said, “Long-range transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between people in adjacent rooms but never in each other’s presence has been documented in quarantine hotels.” If this report is accepted by the broad scientific community, then it will have major implications on how people fight Covid-19?

A: Viral clouds forming in closed buildings can drift between rooms. Ventilation and facial protection are still the best safeguards. We will need better quality masks or double masking. Indoor ventilation systems have to be improved. Open cross ventilation is ideal.

Q: With infectious variants emerging, which can escape the immunity and vaccines, even after a year into the Covid pandemic. Do you think there is a possibility of a third wave, or things would finally begin to settle after this second wave?

A: It is difficult to predict the levels of infectivity and vaccine escape future variants will have. We must hope that the inactivated virus vaccine (Covaxin), which presents a bigger platter of viral antigens for invoking an immune response than vaccines that focus only on the spike protein, will have less threat of vaccine escape from variants that develop spike protein mutations. Whether there will be a third wave of serious infections will depend on how fast we strengthen our public health system and how widely we vaccinate.

covid
Ventilation is a key ally in keeping the viral load low. Pixabay

Q: According to genome sequencing data “double mutant” has become the most common variant. However, patterns have not emerged to establish that the double mutant is driving a spike in cases amid the ongoing second wave. Do you think double mutant will become a dominant variant similar to Kent variant?

A: It is possible that a variant that exhibits greater infectivity than the original wild virus will become dominant over time. Given different variants operating now in different parts of India, it is possible that may see patterns of regional dominance by different variants in different parts of the country. The emerging patterns will also depend on how effectively we can contain transmission from now on, within, and between states.

Q: In the first wave, the cases peaked in September, almost one lakh every day for weeks, but later it declined. Today, there are more than two lakh cases every day. Is it the peak of the second wave and when will it begin to decline?

A: This time the pandemic resurfaced in a fully open society, with high levels of mobility and crowded events. The last time the unlocking was in stages and some restrictions continued for several months. So, the surge soared swiftly. How long it will last will not merely depend on models of how the virus behaves but on how we behave. If we can all wear the right kind of masks the right way whenever away from home and crowded events are curbed with resolve, we can see a downward trend in a few weeks. Otherwise, this wave can get stretched over some months.

ALSO READ: Study: Covid19 Likely Not To Effect The Brain Directly

Q: Today, the government claims to have a fairly good idea about which mutated variant is prevalent where, but all of them are increasing. Isn’t it a worrying situation?

A: A batsman like Rahul Dravid, with a sound ‘Wall’ like defense, can face a left-arm bowler with as much confidence as he faces a right arm bowler. If we wear the right kind of facial protection the right way and avoid super spreader events involving crowds, we can block both the wild virus and its variants from entering our bodies. If we expose ourselves and play carelessly, we can be bowled leg stump or off stump. We have to determinedly play the right kind of defense- for some months to come. (IANS/JC)

STAY CONNECTED

19,511FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

A Crisis Management Perspective Of India’s Covid-19 Crisis: Major General S.B. Asthana

India is in a state of biological war against an invisible enemy (coronavirus), which has imposed unprecedented health emergency of this century. While the...

Vegetarian Cuisine From The Himalayan Foothills: By Veena Sharma

Author and gastronomist Veena Sharma have always believed that one's kitchen is one's best pharmacy, providing us with the particular admixtures and combinations that...

Only 13% Of Global iOS Users Allow Apps To Track To Date After iOS 14.5 Update

After Apple introduced its app tracking transparency tool with iOS 14.5 update to give users better control over their privacy, only 13 percent of...

Coronavirus Protocols To Quickly Identify Mutants Developed By Scientists

A worldwide network of scientists has isolated functional units of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins in such a way that their structure, function, and interactions can...

The AIIMS Guidelines On “Do’s And Dont’s” In Home Isolation

The AIIMS has given guidelines on Covid management in home isolation at a recent training session for 14 experts from tertiary care centers across...

Fauci Says Wearing Masks Could Become Seasonal Following The Pandemic

Wearing face masks may become seasonal when respiratory illnesses are more prevalent, says US top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. Fauci said he thinks...

Skeema: This Tool Will Assist You In Managing Your Browser Tabs More Effectively

If you are reading this, chances are you have several other tabs open in your browser. Are you facing trouble with the overloading of...

Why Did Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Fail To Secure Hindu Votes In West Bengal?

Though the BJP has increased its tally in the West Bengal Assembly from three in 2016 to 77 in 2021 - a substantial increase...

Recent Comments