The World Health Organization (WHO) is reviewing an article that suggested that the agency's guidelines on the new coronavirus need to be updated, after some scientists told the New York Times that there is evidence that the virus can be transmitted by small particles in the air.
WHO says Covid-19 spreads mainly through small droplets that are expelled from the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs., sneeze or speak, and quickly fall to the ground.
However, in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, 239 scientists from 32 countries have described evidence that says they show that smaller exhaled particles can infect people who inhale them, reported the newspaper on Saturday.
How these smaller particles can stay in the air longer, scientists - who plan to publish their findings in a scientific journal this week - are asking WHO to update its guidelines, these o NEW.
“We are aware of the article and reviewing its content with our technical experts”, disse Pull Jasarevic, WHO spokesperson, in an email response on Monday to a Reuters request for comments.
The extent to which coronavirus can be transmitted via so-called air or aerosol as opposed to larger droplets of coughs and sneezes - remains a controversial issue.
Any change in WHO's risk assessment for transmission may affect its current advice on maintaining physical distance from 1 metro.
Governments, who also rely on the agency to define their guidance policies, they may also need to adjust public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus.
“Especially in the past two months, we have stated several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible, but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence ”, said Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO technical leader for infection prevention and control, to the New York Times.
WHO guidance for health professionals, dated 29 of June, says that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is transmitted mainly between people through respiratory droplets and on the surfaces.
But airborne transmission through smaller particles is possible in some circumstances, as when performing intubation procedures that generate aerosol, says the document.