In a new study from Bristol University, researchers found evidence that suggests the SARS-CoV-2 virus becomes less infectious within five minutes of exposure to air.
They described tests designed to simulate the behavior of the virus after it is transmitted into the air by an infected person.
Since the pandemic first began, health care officials have been asking people around the world to wear a mask.
The main purpose of such masks for non-health-care workers is to slow the speed with which the virus is transmitted into the air as a person exhales, sneezes or coughs.
The thinking has been that wearing a mask helps to protect those around an infected person.
In this study, the researchers found evidence that suggests the virus, once transmitted into the air, has only five minutes until it starts losing its ability to infect other people.
If the finding proves to be accurate, wearing a mask becomes even more important.
Preventing the virus from sailing across an open space when it only has five minutes to infect someone would reduce its transmissibility drastically.
The researchers chose a simulation method that has not been used by other researchers.
They found that its transmissibility began dropping within five minutes of exposure to the air. A closer look showed that this is because it begins to dry out and suffers a lack of carbon dioxide.
They found that after 20 minutes, the transmissibility of the virus was reduced by 90%. They also found that more humid air slowed the loss of transmissibility and that temperature had no impact.
At this time, it is not yet clear how well the method matches with conditions in a natural environment.
Also, the new method does not take into account ventilation, room size, or the viral load of the infected person.
And finally, it is still not known what level of transmissibility the virus must have in order to infect people.
If you care about COVID, please read studies that two doses of vaccines cannot fully against Omicron, and scientists find new antibody treatment for COVID-19.
For more information about health, please see recent study that Omicron variant strongly resistant to current antibodies, and results showing that Moderna COVID vaccine elicits the strongest immune responses.
The study is published on MedRxiv. One author of the study is Henry P. Oswin.
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