X-BIO Researchers Study Water Droplets to Halt Airborne Viruses Spread

Research and Innovations 29 September 2020

Researchers of the UTMN X-BIO Institute along with colleagues from the RAS Joint Institute for High Temperatures, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow Power Engineering Institute, research centers of the United States and Israel have collaborated on developing a 'controlled droplet cluster' technology to study the survival of the coronavirus under outdoor conditions. The research results are published in the journal 'Atmosphere'.



The COVID-19 outbreak has drawn the attention of the scientific community to the transmission mechanisms behind the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Imagine a scenario where you are sitting in a park, keeping a distance of more than 1.5 meters from other visitors. You'd think that marks you as completely safe. However, this is not so, since viruses can be carried over by microdroplets of water.

The research is aimed at developing a theoretical model of levitating aerosol microdroplets in varied external conditions, such as humidity and air temperature, as well as other parameters. Scientists have determined the most favorable weather conditions for the virus to linger: low temperature and high humidity slow down the evaporation of microdroplets and contribute to the long-term survival of the airborne virus.

The main factor halting the study of bioaerosols was the fact that it is extremely difficult to observe airborne bacteria and viral particles in a mobile environment. Researchers of the University of Tyumen have developed a unique technology of controlled droplet clusters, which makes it possible to observe isolated aerosol droplets for longer and study them using fluorescence microscopy.

Now researchers can observe the microorganisms in liquid droplets with a diameter of several tens of microns. The new technology of controlled droplet clusters will allow studying the behavior, survival, and spread of viruses in precise detail.
The study of the Biosafety of humans, animals, and plants is crucial for the West Siberian Interregional Research and Educational Center (REC) of the Tyumen Region, the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Source: UTMN Department of Strategic Communications

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