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Coronavirus COVID-19 gene detected on air pollutants by Italian researchers


Even as the world continues to battle coronavirus, a new study has detected the presence of the sometimes deadly COVID-19 pathogen on particles of air pollution. A further research is being conducted if the virus could be carried over longer distances and infect a larger group of people.
Italian scientists detected and identified the presence of COVID-19 specific gene in samples collected from one urban and one industrial sites Bergamo province. The detection was confirmed by an independent laboratory as well.
The work was led by Leonardo Setti of the University of Bologna in Italy, he said it was important to investigate if the virus could be carried more widely by air pollution of which there is not enough proof. “I am a scientist and I am worried when I don’t know,” he said. “If we know, we can find a solution. But if we don’t know, we can only suffer the consequences," Setti was quoted as saying in a report by The Guardian.
While other research groups have also suggested that coronavirus could be transmitted through pollution particles.
Prevoiusly, studies have shown that air pollution particles do harbour microbes and that pollution is likely to have carried bird flu, measles and foot-and-mouth disease viruses over considerable distances.
The potential role of air pollution particles is linked to the broader question of how the coronavirus is transmitted. Experts are not sure whether tiny airborne droplets from infected persons is contagious, though they know the 2003 Sars coronavirus was spread in the air and that COVID-19 pathogen can remain viable for hours in tiny droplets.
But researchers say the possibility that air pollutants carry virus cannot be ruled out just yet without any further scientific evidence.

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