In this paper recently published in Nature Medicine, Leung et al. aimed to explore the importance of respiratory droplet and aerosol routes of transmission with a particular focus on coronaviruses, influenza viruses and rhinoviruses. They quantified respiratory viral load in the exhaled breath of participants who attended with acute respiratory virus illnesses (ARIs) and investigated the potential efficacy of surgical face masks to prevent respiratory virus transmission. They found that surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. The authors concluded that their results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.
by Marialuisa Zedde and Francesco Cavallieri