With the toxic air pollution looming over our heads, India’s battle against the novel coronavirus is set to face a new range of challenges and hurdles. High air pollution, low temperature, and coronavirus may turn out to be a deadly combination. Also Read – New model to enable drug predictions against COVID-19 developed
While COVID-19 has been detected as a serious respiratory illness causing a virus, it is natural to assume that exposure to polluted or toxic air only heightens the risk of serious respiratory diseases. That being said, let us look at this problem in detail. Also Read – Turkey’s new virus figures confirm experts’ worst fears
ILLNESSES CAUSED BY COVID-19 VIRUS
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Also Read – Building emotional immunity amid Covid 19 scare
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
That being said, the rising pollutants in the air will add more risk to the lives of humans. Inhaling this toxic air can cause serious lung problems. When humanity is already threatened with the COVID-19 virus, inhaling toxic air will fly add more miseries.
AIR POLLUTION CAN AMPLIFY COVID-19 CONTAMINATION
According to new research, these elevated levels of air pollution may amplify the waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination, the virus responsible for Covid-19 diseases.
The study, published in the journal Earth Systems and Environment, investigated possible interactions between acutely elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of the coronavirus disease.
The result suggests that high concentrations of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size may modulate, or even amplify, the waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination and explain in part the particular profile of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The study provides preventive measures related to air pollution to limit future outbreaks of morbidity and mortality due to the coronavirus,” said study author Mario Rohrer from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
SARS-CoV-2 WAS PRESENT IN EUROPE IN 2019
Covid-19 studies conducted in Italy and France suggest that SARS-CoV-2 was already present in Europe at the end of 2019, while the sharp increase in morbidity and mortality was only recorded in spring 2020 in Paris and London.
“This time lag is surprising, but also suggests that something else than just the mere interaction of people may promote the transmission of the virus, and particularly the severity of the infection,” Rohrer said.
The research team has been able to show that these increases in cases followed phases where the levels of fine particles in the air were higher.
The team made similar observations in the Swiss canton of Ticino, where fine-particle pollution increased sharply during a period of shallow fog on the Magadino plain and the Sotto Ceneri, observed at the end of February 2020.
HOW DOES AIR POLLUTION AFFECT YOU
The findings showed that acute concentrations of fine particles, especially those smaller than 2.5 micrometers, cause inflammation of the respiratory, pulmonary and cardiovascular tracts and thicken the blood.
“In combination with a viral infection, these inflammatory factors can lead to a serious progression of the disease. Inflammation also promotes the attachment of the virus to cells,” Rohrer said.
Nonetheless, the researchers also emphasize that, although particulate matter pollution can influence the virulence of the virus and possible severe disease progression, physiological, social, or economic factors will clearly also influence the further course of the pandemic.
“This study offers the possibility of taking preventive measures in the event of future increases in fine particulate matter concentrations, thus limiting a new flare-up of Covid-19 morbidity and mortality,” the team noted.
HOW TO STAY SAFE?
As air pollution engulfs various states across the nation, the quality of the air you are proving your lungs with is degrading. Understandably, the toxic air is making everyone cough, causing throat irritation, and even spreading viral infections. Take these small steps to keep you safe.
- Avoid morning walks
- Use good quality masks when outdoor
- Stay hydrated and follow a healthy diet
- Avoid smoking
- Lung cleansing – take steam every day as a process of lung detoxification.
(With inputs from Agencies)
Published : November 29, 2020 6:25 pm