Why some people are superspreaders and how the body emits coronavirus
The production of infectious aerosols can vary wildly between individuals—and experts are exploring why in the COVID-19 era.
In 2003, when SARS had infected thousands, killed hundreds, and caused a worldwide scare, Lidia Morawska was studying the effects of inhaling fine particles of pollution. But then the World Health Organization asked Morawska, a physicist at the Queensland University of Technology, to join a team in Hong Kong trying to understand how the coronavirus that causes SARS was spreading.
“I found three papers investigating anything to do with exhalation of particles from human respiratory activities. There was basically next to nothing,” she says. “This amazed me because this is such an important area, such a critical area.”
Almost two decades later, the rapid spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus has reignited interest in research into how our lungs launch infectious material