We talked recently about an Italian study finding evidence to suggest Covid-19 can travel through the air, hitching a ride on pollution particles. Now a team from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, have taken this theory one stage further.
They believe the Particulate Matter (PM) from vehicles and industry plays a direct role in the spread of Covid-19, increasing our risk of contracting the virus and experiencing the more dangerous complications that can lead to loss of life.
Covid-19 found in pollution particles
The Taiwanese team believe the virus can be absorbed by pollution particles, then linger in the air “for hours or days” before being inhaled deep into the lungs, where it can start replicating. This is not the first time a virus has hitched a ride in this way. Bird flu and seasonal flu have both been detected in pollution particles.
Areas hard hit by the virus also have high pollution levels
This theory is supported by the fact that the areas hardest hit by Covid-19 are also known for their pollution problems.
Air pollution may increase risk of catching COVID-19
We know that pollution particles create inflammation in the lungs, making people more susceptible to the complications associated with Covid-19. But the team from Taiwan also believes the more a person is exposed to pollution, the more chance they have of contracting the virus.
Pollution may increase the number of ACE-2 receptors in our lungs. These receptors then act as a gateway for the virus, giving it easy access to our lungs.
90% of the world’s population live in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution. The results of this latest research have serious implications for billions of people, particularly those living in countries with limited access to healthcare or adequate sanitation.
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