Study found that the virus could be frequently detected in air around Covid patients. (Representational Image/AFP)
HYDERABAD: Novel Coronavirus is airborne and you could contract it just by breathing infected air, even when you maintain social distancing, confirms a new study. Until now, though Covid was generally thought to be airborne, there was no scientific evidence to establish the same.
The study was conducted by a group of scientists from CSIR-CCMB (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology), Hyderabad and CSIR-IMTech (Institute of Microbial Technology), Chandigarh, in collaboration with hospitals in Hyderabad and Mohali.
They found that the virus could be frequently detected in air around Covid patients. They found the virus in ICU as well as non-ICU sections of hospitals, suggesting that patients shed the virus in air irrespective of the severity of infection. The study also found viruses in air that could spread over long distances.
"Our results show that in closed spaces, Coronavirus can stay in the air for some time. We found that the positivity rate of finding the virus in air was 75 per cent when two or more Covid patients were present in a room, in contrast to 15.8 per cent when one or no patients occupied the room," said Dr Shivranjani Moharir, one of the scientists involved in the study.
Dr Rakesh Mishra, lead scientist of the study and director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, said, "Air surveillance is useful to predict infection potential of spaces like classrooms and meeting halls. This can help refine strategies to control the spread of infections."