Airborne Coronavirus: Scientists In Italy Find Coronavirus On Air Pollution Particles

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How far can that invasive airborne coronavirus that shut down much of the world travel? Further, perhaps, if it latches onto some particulates.

Dr. Leonardo Setti of the University of Bologna in Italy is prioritizing this as a significant finding and delving deeply into the matter scientifically. He wants to find out how it can be carried by air pollution, and how far.

“I am a scientist and I am worried when I don’t know,” Dr. Setti communicates, according to The Sun. “If we know, we can find a solution. But if we don’t know, we can only suffer the consequences.”

Dr. Setti’s study used outdoor air pollution samples from one urban and one industrial site in the Bergamo province. The results, published in “SARSn-Cov-2 RNA Found on Particulate Matter of Bergamo in Northern Italy: First Preliminary Evidence,” are summarize in the abstract a such: “This is the first preliminary evidence that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be present on outdoor particulate matter, thus suggesting that, in conditions of atmospheric stability and high concentrations of PM, SARS-CoV-2 could create clusters with outdoor PM and, by reducing their diffusion coefficient, enhance the persistence of the virus in the atmosphere.”

The Sun continues that, indeed, a part of Mr Setti’s analysis suggests that higher levels of pollution could explain higher rates of infection in parts of northern Italy before the lockdown was implemented. The north of Italy is said to be one of the most polluted regions in Europe.

Earlier studies have shown that air pollution particles carry microbes, and pollution is likely to have carried viruses causing bird flu and foot-and-mouth over distances.

Others are adding to the research. The Journal of Infection on April 10, 2020, published “Regional air pollution persistence links to COVID-19 infection zoning,” which states at the start, “There is a strong established link between severe viral respiratory disease, which causes infection in 10∼20% of the population, and air pollution.”

Top panel (A, B): Covid-19 outbreak in China compared to concentration of particulate matter (PM 2.5) (; CC BY-SA 4.0). Panel C: Italian distribution of COVID-19 cases. Top right and bottom right panel (D, E): Levels of NO2 air pollutant (month of December) in China and North Italy (Source: NASA G.I.O.V.A.N.N.I.). Bottom panel (F): Nitrogen Dioxide pollution map over EUROPE as seen by Copernicus SENTINEL 5P satellite (Jan to Apr 2019). Credit: ESA – Copernicus SENTINEL 5P CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.

Air Pollution and the Novel Covid-19 Disease: a Putative Disease Risk Factor,” by Luigi Martelletti and Paolo Martelletti, is another supportive study that speaks to the emergence of and the severity of this virus. One of the insidious parts of this unknown coronavirus is that it lies in its long incubation period, which is reported to range up to 14 days (although, it has been recently stated that, in some cases, this may extend to 21 days).

This work agrees. “According to the recent SIMA analysis of Covid-19 diffusion in Italy, the atmospheric particulate matter exercises a carrier (or boost) action along with the virus. The PM10 (particulate matter) is composed of solid and liquid particles which allow to float in the airflow longer and to be widespread over larger distances. Atmospheric PM has a sub-layer that facilitates the virus survival in airflows for hours or days.”

It makes sense that we become vulnerable when our lungs are hit hard by toxic, invasive factors. As noted before, air pollution already hurts us too much. Those fine particles get into our bloodstream, which affects every part of one’s body. They can go to our brain as well. They worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. There is overload to vulnerable human immune responses from all forms of air pollution.

“SARS virus and other respiratory diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) find fertile “territory” in air pollutant particles and, in a linear relationship, they survive longer and become more aggressive in an immune system already aggravated by these harmful substances. This hypothesis needs to be validated by further future epidemiological studies in multiple geographic regions affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Regarding one of the images in the study, the researchers write, “The red zone in Fig. 1 indicates high PM agglomerations, while the red circles in Fig. 2 designate those infected. A correlation between elevated concentration of PM and the high spread and mortality rate is visible.”
Particulate matter emissions drop over Italy in February 2020  [study]
CoViD-19 cases over Italy [9] [study]
“Although the connection can be considered both a false statement as it lacks data and causality, China has faced a near identical situation with the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, where elevated concentrations of air pollutants were present in the regions mostly affected.”
Nitrogen dioxide emissions in mainland China [10] [study]
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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor. Pronouns: She/Her

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