Researchers in the United States claim to have identified specific physiological features that may increase the spread of airborne pathogens, such as coronavirus.
A team of researchers from the University of Central Florida’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering combined 3D modeling with numerical simulations to digitally recreate sneezes from a variety of people with different physiological features.
They investigated how factors such as a stuffy nose or a complete set of teeth can contribute to so-called super-spreading events by examining how far the viral load contained in sneeze drops moves and how long they linger in the air.
Also on rt.com
Only 20% of coronavirus cases are responsible for 80% of transmissions according to explosive new research
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to respiratory droplets from infected humans is the primary means by which coronavirus is transmitted, while this area of study is somewhat crude but may be critical to stop the spread of the pandemic with or without vaccine.
The researchers established four models using computer-generated subjects with a complete set of teeth and clear nose, no teeth and clear nose, no teeth and an overloaded nose, and finally a complete set of teeth with an overloaded nose.
“They actually appear to be running transmission. So if you see someone without teeth, you can actually expect a weaker ray of sneezing from them,” says Michael Kinzel, an assistant professor at UCF’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-author.
Also on rt.com
Australian children confuse doctors after developing Covid-19 antibodies without ever testing positive
Meanwhile, they found that a clear nose reduces the speed and distance of a sneeze due to lower intranasal pressure, while a complete set of teeth can increase the speed of a sneeze when it comes out of the oral cavity. A combination of an overloaded nose and a complete set of teeth can increase the spray distance of the drops by up to 60 percent.
In other words, it can soon be considered a public good to blow your nose before going out in public.
Not those who shy away from the icky, the researchers also simulated different types of saliva ranging from thin to thick to determine the influence of viscosity on viral transmission.
The team found that sneezing composed of thinner saliva tended to stay longer in the air, which coincided with previous research they had conducted.
They have previously studied producing a Covid-19 cough drop to thicken people’s saliva and draw any sneeze to the ground faster, reducing the likelihood of transmission in immediate aftermath of a sneeze.
Cough drops to help control COVID-19? TeamA team of UCF researchers looks at changing people’s saliva to help control the spread of the virus https://t.co/vVU7vrWyKr
– UCF @ (@UCF) May 15, 2020
“The results show that exposure levels are highly dependent on fluid dynamics, which can vary depending on several human traits,” says Kareem Ahmed, associate professor in UCF’s department of mechanical and aerospace technology and studying co-author.
The researchers hope to conduct clinical trials with a number of volunteers with multiple backgrounds and beyond “investigate the interactions between gas flow, mucus film and tissue structures” during coughing and sneezing, and how they help transmit viruses and diseases.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!