The dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity with changes in aerosol microenvironment
The aerosol microenvironment is dynamic, exposing pathogens, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus, when exhaled in respiratory aerosol to extreme conditions of solute concentration, pH, and evaporative cooling. Yet surviving this environment is a key step in the transmission of such pathogens.
Understanding the impact that airborne transport has on pathogens and the influence of environmental conditions on pathogen survival can inform the implementation of strategies to mitigate the spread of diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019.
In the paper, part funded by the PROTECT NCS, researchers report changes in the infectivity of the airborne virus over timescales from 5 s to 20 min, and demonstrate the role of two microphysical processes in this infectivity loss, namely, particle crystallization and aerosol droplet pH change.