Scientists say coronavirus is better airborne due to mutations

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The mutated coronavirus is better airborne, scientists from the University of Maryland in the United States have found. According to them, with the alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2, the amount of viral RNA in the exhaled air increases compared to earlier strains. The study is published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers looked at 49 cases of infection with different strains of coronavirus, including the alpha variant (first detected in the UK in September 2020) and earlier. All study participants had the disease asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

Some participants in the study were asked to repeat the alphabet three times, others were asked to shout Go Terps 30 times (Terps are the sports teams of the University of Maryland) or sing “Happy Birthday” several times. Those infected with the alpha strain exhaled about 100 times more viral particles than those who had the original Wuhan variant.

“We know delta is even more contagious than alpha. Our study provides additional evidence of airborne transmission of new strains of infection, ”the study said.

Earlier, Rospotrebnadzor reported that in Russia about 95% of cases of coronavirus infection are attributable to the “delta” strain. The head of the department, Anna Popova, said that this option is more contagious, but does not cause a severe course of the disease.

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