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Modeling the load of SARS-CoV-2 virus in human expelled particles during coughing and speaking.
PLoS One. 2020; 15(10):e0241539.Plos

Abstract

Particle size is an essential factor when considering the fate and transport of virus-containing droplets expelled by human, because it determines the deposition pattern in the human respiratory system and the evolution of droplets by evaporation and gravitational settling. However, the evolution of virus-containing droplets and the size-dependent viral load have not been studied in detail. The lack of this information leads to uncertainties in understanding the airborne transmission of respiratory diseases, such as the COVID-19. In this study, through a set of differential equations describing the evolution of respiratory droplets and by using the SARS-CoV-2 virus as an example, we investigated the distribution of airborne virus in human expelled particles from coughing and speaking. More specifically, by calculating the vertical distances traveled by the respiratory droplets, we examined the number of viruses that can remain airborne and the size of particles carrying these airborne viruses after different elapsed times. From a single cough, a person with a high viral load in respiratory fluid (2.35 × 109 copies per ml) may generate as many as 1.23 × 105 copies of viruses that can remain airborne after 10 seconds, compared to 386 copies of a normal patient (7.00 × 106 copies per ml). Masking, however, can effectively block around 94% of the viruses that may otherwise remain airborne after 10 seconds. Our study found that no clear size boundary exists between particles that can settle and can remain airborne. The results from this study challenge the conventional understanding of disease transmission routes through airborne and droplet mechanisms. We suggest that a complete understanding of the respiratory droplet evolution is essential and needed to identify the transmission mechanisms of respiratory diseases.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO, United States of America.Department of Mining and Nuclear Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO, United States of America.Department of Biological Sciences, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO, United States of America.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33125421

Citation

Wang, Yang, et al. "Modeling the Load of SARS-CoV-2 Virus in Human Expelled Particles During Coughing and Speaking." PloS One, vol. 15, no. 10, 2020, pp. e0241539.
Wang Y, Xu G, Huang YW. Modeling the load of SARS-CoV-2 virus in human expelled particles during coughing and speaking. PLoS One. 2020;15(10):e0241539.
Wang, Y., Xu, G., & Huang, Y. W. (2020). Modeling the load of SARS-CoV-2 virus in human expelled particles during coughing and speaking. PloS One, 15(10), e0241539. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241539
Wang Y, Xu G, Huang YW. Modeling the Load of SARS-CoV-2 Virus in Human Expelled Particles During Coughing and Speaking. PLoS One. 2020;15(10):e0241539. PubMed PMID: 33125421.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Modeling the load of SARS-CoV-2 virus in human expelled particles during coughing and speaking. AU - Wang,Yang, AU - Xu,Guang, AU - Huang,Yue-Wern, Y1 - 2020/10/30/ PY - 2020/09/05/received PY - 2020/10/17/accepted PY - 2020/10/30/entrez PY - 2020/10/31/pubmed PY - 2020/10/31/medline SP - e0241539 EP - e0241539 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS One VL - 15 IS - 10 N2 - Particle size is an essential factor when considering the fate and transport of virus-containing droplets expelled by human, because it determines the deposition pattern in the human respiratory system and the evolution of droplets by evaporation and gravitational settling. However, the evolution of virus-containing droplets and the size-dependent viral load have not been studied in detail. The lack of this information leads to uncertainties in understanding the airborne transmission of respiratory diseases, such as the COVID-19. In this study, through a set of differential equations describing the evolution of respiratory droplets and by using the SARS-CoV-2 virus as an example, we investigated the distribution of airborne virus in human expelled particles from coughing and speaking. More specifically, by calculating the vertical distances traveled by the respiratory droplets, we examined the number of viruses that can remain airborne and the size of particles carrying these airborne viruses after different elapsed times. From a single cough, a person with a high viral load in respiratory fluid (2.35 × 109 copies per ml) may generate as many as 1.23 × 105 copies of viruses that can remain airborne after 10 seconds, compared to 386 copies of a normal patient (7.00 × 106 copies per ml). Masking, however, can effectively block around 94% of the viruses that may otherwise remain airborne after 10 seconds. Our study found that no clear size boundary exists between particles that can settle and can remain airborne. The results from this study challenge the conventional understanding of disease transmission routes through airborne and droplet mechanisms. We suggest that a complete understanding of the respiratory droplet evolution is essential and needed to identify the transmission mechanisms of respiratory diseases. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33125421/Modeling_the_load_of_SARS_CoV_2_virus_in_human_expelled_particles_during_coughing_and_speaking_ L2 - https://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241539 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -