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On Monday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed that there is evidence showing the possibility of airborne transmission of the coronavirus.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the NCDC, made this known at the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.
The development comes four days after the World Health Organisation (WHO), in its updated guidelines, said airborne transmission of the coronavirus is possible.
In the scientific brief published on July 9, the WHO noted that “airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols”, but clarified that research was still ongoing to determine the extent of infection.
“A susceptible person could inhale aerosols, and could become infected if the aerosols contain the virus in sufficient quantity to cause infection within the recipient,” it read.
“However, the proportion of exhaled droplet nuclei or of respiratory droplets that evaporate to generate aerosols, and the infectious dose of viable SARS-CoV-2 required to cause infection in another person are not known, but it has been studied for other respiratory viruses.”
At the briefing on Monday, the NCDC also made reference to emerging studies, and affirmed the possibility of the spread of the virus through air.
“Understanding the modes of transmission of any new virus is very critical for defining response strategies. For COVID-19, from the very beginning, our understanding based on other coronaviruses was spread primarily through droplets,” Ihekweazu said.
“Droplets are excretions from the respiratory tracts that can’t stay on in the air. They ultimately fall to the ground after a few minutes. However, as we have studied transmission, studied clusters of these infections, we saw increasing evidence from clusters of infections. Clusters transmissions did not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing.
“Diseases that are commonly spread by what we call airborne infection are things like measles and influenza that can be suspended in the air and transmit over longer distances.
“Over the past few weeks, increasing evidence has emerged that in addition to droplet infections, we cannot rule out that airborne transmission is also possible as a mode of transmission of COVID-19.”
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