Interview by Modern BioPharma with Jesse Coiro, air purification expert from Erlab, Inc. concerning ‘Aerosolization as it relates to virus pathogen spread.’
Speaker 1: Jesse McLaughlin, Modern BioPharm
So, I just want to talk about COVID a bit really quick, and the means of transmission. Everybody talks about don’t touch your face, don’t touch things, sanitize, wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. There’re so many different things people are saying right now, and it seems like everybody’s an expert and yet nobody knows anything, all at the same time. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’re seeing as a primary means of transmission and why that might be important to us in the bio pharma community?
Speaker 2: Jesse Coiro, Erlab, Inc.
Well, when we think about the virus, we immediately think about contact transmission, touching our face, close proximity to one other, and the droplets that are released from our mouths when we talk. What we don’t realize is that aerosolized transmission, is truly the unseen danger that we have to be very concerned about. When, we talk, when we have a conversation like we are today, and if I was in the room with somebody close to me and I was infected, their likelihood of getting infected would be high. However, what happens to the people outside of the six foot “social distanced” area that we’re in? When viral droplets are released, these aerosolized droplets, are about five microns in size or larger and project but quickly fall to a surface. However, these droplets desiccate fairly quickly, and they become droplet nuclei. Droplet nuclei is between 2.5 micron to 0.129 micron in size. At this point the virus now becomes airborne. This is the transmission that actually causes the most severe cases. Now, why is that?
When we breathe in these droplet nuclei, our mucus membranes can no longer filter out those particles, because they’re so tiny, which means they go deep down into our lungs, into our air sacks (Alveoli), creating lower respiratory tract infections. And that’s not what people are really focusing on right now. They’re focusing on, again, mainly the contact, or fomite transmission, masks, social distancing, hand sanitization, don’t touch your face. Yes, while that’s a danger, the airborne transmission is a severe risk that we have to be aware of, and that’s really what we’ve been educating people on.
Yes. I mean, I’m in this world where maybe we’re a little bit more technical than some other, industries, so I’m pretty aware of the idea of aerosolization. But I guess something that maybe you are really putting out there, if you will, is that this is like a residual aerosolization, because people know that if you’re close, there’s droplets and there’s like all of the above when you’re close. So, are we talking about the stuff that’s staying in the room after somebody walks away, or what are we talking about here?
Exactly, when these droplets become droplet nuclei they just stay in the air long after droplets are released. These droplet nuclei stay in the air and remain suspended for up to sixteen hours. So anybody that’s in that room that the infected person was in, who sneezed, coughed, talked, whatever it may be, even if they’re wearing a mask, people think you’re wearing a mask, well, it’s going to protect, it’s not because the mask is not fit tested, there are still gaps on the side and as you know, when you cough, you sneeze, it’s going to get projected. So yes, it will impact and infect, unfortunately, those in the surrounding area. And like I said, as it remains suspended in the air for quite some time, this means of transmission can occur for a long period of time. And what we’re looking to do is mitigate that transmission risk as best as we can with technology.