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Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

Union Health Ministry said it was closely watching the dynamic evolution of the virus situation in India, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) now indicating that the virus may be airborne.

WHO on Airborne spread of COVID-19

  • After earlier denials, the WHO said there is evidence emerging of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after over 230 scientists across the world urged the global body to update its guidance.
  • Currently the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19 is being inspected and discussed.

Other Highlights

  • Data indicates that 25% population (above 45 years) has witnessed 85% deaths, while 10% population (above 60 years) has witnessed more than 50% deaths.
  • The Health Ministry said it is reviewing the drug remdesivir for use among COVID patients after the drug indicated negative impact on the liver function.

Airborne disease

  • An airborne disease is any disease that is caused by pathogens that can be transmitted through the air over time and distance by small particles.
  • The relevant pathogens may be spread through breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, raising of dust, spraying of liquids, toilet flushing or any activities which generate aerosol particles or droplets.

Airborne vs Respiratory Droplets

  • Airborne transmission is distinct from transmission by respiratory droplets.
  • Respiratory droplets are large enough to fall to the ground rapidly after being produced (usually greater than 5 μm), as opposed to the smaller particles that carry airborne pathogens.
  • Also, while respiratory droplets consist mostly of water, airborne particles are relatively dry, which damages many pathogens so that their ability to transmit infection is lessened or eliminated.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023