The World Health Organization has confirmed there is “emerging evidence” of airborne transmission of the Coronavirus after the publication of a letter signed by 239 scientists that urged the agency to be upfront about the likelihood of people catching the virus from droplets floating in the air.
During a briefing on Tuesday, WHO Technical Lead for Infection Prevention and Control, Dr. Benedetta Alleganzi said the agency has discussed and partnered with many of the scientists who signed the letter.
“We acknowledge that there is emerging evidence in this field, as in all other fields regarding the Covid-19 virus and pandemic and therefore we believe that we have to be open to this evidence and understand its implications regarding the modes of transmission and also regarding the precautions that need to be taken,” Alleganzi said.
Infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkove of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program said, “we have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of Covid-19, as well as droplet. We’ve looked at fomites. We’ve looked at fecal oral. We’ve looked at mother to child. We’ve looked at animal to human, of course as well.”
Alleganzi stressed more research is must be done on Covid-19 transmission.
“So, these are fields of research that are really growing and for which there is some evidence emerging but is not definitive,” she said.
“And therefore, the possibility of airborne transmission in public settings, especially in very specific conditions crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described cannot be ruled out. However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted.”