Study unravels what makes people coronavirus superspreader

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Study unravels what makes people coronavirus superspreader (Image: Unplash)
Study unravels what makes people coronavirus superspreader (Image: Unplash)

New Delhi : You must have heard the term superspreader while reading about coronavirus and its spread across different parts of the world. A new study has tried to find out what are the factors which make people superspreader. Obesity, age and the state of COVID-19 infection influence are among the primary reasons.

The observational study has been published in the journal PNAS. A total of 194 healthy people were assessed during the study.

According to the researchers, including the ones from Harvard University in the US, the exhaled aerosol particles vary greatly between subjects, depending on their age, state of viral infection, and body mass index (BMI).

BMI of a person is the ration of his weight to the square of their height in metres. In the study, it has been found that the old age people with a higher BMI and an increasing degree of COVID-19 infection had three times the number of exhaled respiratory droplets as others in the study groups.

The researchers also found out that 18 per cent of the people in the group were responsible for 80 per cent of the exhaled particles. This is termed as 20/80 rule.

According to this rule, which is seen in other infectious disease epidemics, 20 per cent of infected individuals are responsible for 80 per cent of transmissions.

These tiny particles, the researchers said, are more likely to be expelled as people breathe, talk or cough and can also stay afloat much longer, travel farther in the air and penetrate deeper into the lungs when inhaled.

"We've seen a similar increase in droplets during the acute infection stage with other infectious diseases like tuberculosis," said Chad Roy, a co-author of the study from Tulane National Primate Research Center in the US.

"It seems likely that viral and bacterial infections of the airway can weaken airway mucus, which promotes the movement of infectious particles into this environment," Roy said.

After the study, it has been analysed that the healthy and young people produce very less droplets as compared to old and less healthy people.