A new study is raising concerns about the ability of coronavirus particles to linger in the air, especially in areas with little ventilation.
The study published Monday in the journal Nature Research was conducted by a researcher at Wuhan University in China and tested the concentration of genetic material at two hospitals treating patients with COVID-19.
According to Bloomberg, the study found the virus only lingered a little in the air of hospital patient wards, supermarkets and residential buildings, while far more aerosols were found in bathrooms, and areas where large crowds congregate indoors.
Researchers found low to undetectable levels of the virus’s genetic material in well-ventilated patient rooms. The study also found some medical staff areas initially had a high concentration of the genetic material, but the levels were reduced to undetectable levels after rigorous sanitization procedures.
The study’s findings suggest disinfection and better ventilation could help control the spread of the potentially fatal virus.
The finding of large concentrations of the virus in rooms where medical staff wear protective quipment could suggest health professionals’ equipment is becoming contaminated by airborne particles of the virus, and create more contamination when they are removed.
While it was not established whether the airborne particles could cause infection, researchers said future studies should explore their infectivity.