Headline, August 19 2020/ HONOURS : '''SCIENTISTS ''RETRIEVE'' *INFECTION'''


''I'M IMPRESSED - '' SAID ROBYN SCHOFIELD - an atmosphere chemist at Melbourne University in Australia, who measures aerosols over the oceans. ''It's a very clever measurement technique''.

SKEPTICS OF THE NOTION THAT CORONOVIRUS spreads through the air - including many expert advisers to the World Health Organization - have held out for one missing piece of evidence : Proof that floating respiratory droplets called aerosols contain live virus, and not just fragments of genetic material.

Now a team of virologists and aerosol scientists has produced exactly that confirmation of infectious virus in the air.

''This is what people have been clamoring for,'' said Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne spread of viruses who was not in the work. ''It's unambiguous evidence that there is infections virus in aerosols.''

A research team at the University of Florida succeeded in isolating live virus from aerosols collected at a distance of seven to 16 feet from patients hospitalized with Covid-19 farther than the six feet recommended in social distancing headlines.

The findings posted online last week, have not yet been vetted by peer review, but have already caused something of a stir among scientists.
''If that isn't a smoking gun, then I don't know what is,'' Dr. Marr posted online last week.

But some experts said it still was not clear that the amount of virus recovered was sufficient to cause infection.

''The research was exacting. Aerosols are minute by definition, measuring only up to five  micrometers across; evaporation can make them even smaller. Attempts to capture these delicate droplets usually damage the virus they contain.

''It's very hard to sample biological material from the air and have it be viable,'' said Shelly Miller, an environmental engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies air quality and airborne diseases.

''We have to be clever about sampling biological material in the process so that its more similar to how you might inhale it.''

Previous attempts have been stymied at one step or another in the process. For example, one team tried using a rotating drum to suspend aerosols and showed that the virus remained infectious for up to three hours.

But critics argue that those conditions were experimental and unrealistic.

Other scientists used gelatin filters or plastic or glass tubes to collect aerosols over time. But the force of the air shrank the aerosols and sheared the virus. Another group succeeded in isolating live virus, but did not show that the isolated virus could infect the cells.

In the new study, researchers devised a sampler that used pure water vapor to enlarge the aerosols enough that they could be collected easily from the air. Rather than leave these aerosols sitting., the equipment transferred them into a liquid rich with salts, sugar and protein, which preserved the pathogen.

Dr. Schofield, the editor of the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, is familiar with the options available, but said she had not seen any that could match the new one.

The researchers had previously used this method to sample air from the hospital rooms. But at these attempts, other floating respiratory viruses grew faster, making it difficult to isolate the coronavirus.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on the Pandemic's role in Community Transmission, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Apoorva Mandavilli.

With respectful dedication to the Scientists, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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