Concerns that SARS-CoV-2 can be spread through the air have increased after researchers in Wuhan, China discovered the genetic material of the coronavirus in airborne droplets in two hospitals, according to a new study.
The research, published in the scientific journal Nature, found the virus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA) in different areas of the two hospitals in February and March. Although the RNA discovered in isolation wards and ventilated patient rooms was “very low,” there was an “elevated” level in patients’ toilet areas, the researchers found.
“Although we have not established the infectivity of the virus detected in these hospital areas, we propose that SARS-CoV-2 may have the potential to be transmitted via aerosols,” the researchers wrote in the study’s abstract. “Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols.”