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Review

Covid-19 Airborne Transmission and Its Prevention: Waiting for Evidence or Applying the Precautionary Principle?

Laboratory of Hygiene and Environmental Virology, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via S. Zeno 35/39, 56127 Pisa, Italy
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Atmosphere 2020, 11(7), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070710
Received: 12 June 2020 / Revised: 30 June 2020 / Accepted: 1 July 2020 / Published: 3 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioaerosol Exposure and Risk Assessment)
Besides the predominant ways of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (namely, contacts and large droplets) the airborne one is increasingly taken into consideration as a result of latest research findings. Nevertheless, this possibility has been already suggested by previous studies on other coronaviruses including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. To describe the state of the art of coronaviruses and airborne transmission, a systematic review was carried out using the PRISMA methodology. Overall, 64 papers were selected and classified into three main groups: laboratory experiments (12 papers), air monitoring (22) and epidemiological and airflow model studies (30). The airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is suggested by the studies of the three groups, but none has yet obtained complete evidence. The sampling and detection methods have not been validated, therefore monitoring results are affected by a possible underestimation. Then, epidemiological investigations only hypothesize the airborne transmission as a possible explanation for some illness cases, but without estimating its attributable risk. Nevertheless, while waiting for more evidence, it is urgent to base advice on preventive measures, such as the use of masks, safe distancing and air ventilation, on the precautionary principle. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; human coronaviruses; animal coronaviruses; airborne transmission; survival in air; air monitoring; epidemiological studies; air models COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; human coronaviruses; animal coronaviruses; airborne transmission; survival in air; air monitoring; epidemiological studies; air models
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carducci, A.; Federigi, I.; Verani, M. Covid-19 Airborne Transmission and Its Prevention: Waiting for Evidence or Applying the Precautionary Principle? Atmosphere 2020, 11, 710. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070710

AMA Style

Carducci A, Federigi I, Verani M. Covid-19 Airborne Transmission and Its Prevention: Waiting for Evidence or Applying the Precautionary Principle? Atmosphere. 2020; 11(7):710. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070710

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carducci, Annalaura, Ileana Federigi, and Marco Verani. 2020. "Covid-19 Airborne Transmission and Its Prevention: Waiting for Evidence or Applying the Precautionary Principle?" Atmosphere 11, no. 7: 710. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070710

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