Italian researchers have identified the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in air samples collected over three weeks in an industrial area in the province of Bergamo, northern Italy.
In a study still under review, whose preliminary version can now be consulted publicly, the team led by researcher Leonardo Setti, from the University of Bologna, claims to have identified the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in air samples collected over three weeks in an industrial area in the province of Bergamo, in northern Italy.
“This is the first preliminary evidence that SARS-CoV-2 RNA may be present in suspended particles, which suggests that, under conditions of atmospheric stability and large concentrations of suspended particles, SARS-CoV-2 may create agglomerates with the particles and, by reducing its diffusion coefficient, increase the persistence of the virus in the atmosphere”, explain the researchers.
In a theoretical hypothesis published before the release of these results, the same researchers had suggested the possibility that a greater exposure of the population of northern Italy – a more industrialized region – to airborne particles may have been responsible for a greater incidence of Covid-19 in that area of the country.
The possibility that the virus can be transmitted by particles suspended in polluted air is directly related to the way in which the virus itself is transmitted, and the World Health Organization has already repeated that it is not transmitted by air. In other words, according to WHO: “SARS-CoV-2 is only transmitted by droplets expelled by infected people, not being suspended in the air” – information that can now be called into question by these new studies.