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December 10, 2020 Thursday 11:08:31 AM IST

How Fine Particle Pollution Also Leads to Spread of Covid-19

A study done by scientists at University of Geneva (UNIGE) and a Switzerland team has shown that fine-particle pollution in the atmosphere in a region can also contribute to spread of Covid-19 virus apart from people to people spread.

The researchers said that Covid-19 virus was already present by end of 2019 in Europe but increase in morbidity rates and mortality rates was reported in the spring in Paris and London. This time lag can be explained in terms of increase in fine particle matter due to shallow fog on the Magadino plain and the Sotto Ceneri, observed. Shortly afterwards, there were sharp increase in Covid-19 admissions in hospitals in Swiss canton of Ticino.

The Swiss research team stated that acute concentrations of fine particles, especially those smaller than 2.5 micrometers, cause inflammation of the respiratory, pulmonary and cardiovascular tracts and thicken the blood.  The scientists said that in combination with a viral infection, these inflammatory factors can lead to a serious progression of the disease. Inflammation also promotes the attachment of the virus to cells, they added.

In addition, the coronavirus may also be transported by the fine particles which was already been demonstrated for influenza and an Italian study found coronavirus RNA on fine particles. All this remains to be demonstrated, of course, but it is a likely possibility, the scientists added.

Nonetheless, the researchers also emphasize that, although particulate matter pollution can influence the virulence of the virus and possible severe disease progression, physiological, social or economic factors will clearly also influence the further course of the pandemic.