Today’s Guardian reports the findings of a study which has detected Coronavirus on particles of air pollution. It is not known yet if the virus remains viable on pollution particles and in sufficient quantity to cause disease. If it is, it would enable the virus to be carried over longer distances and increase the number of people infected.
Leonardo Setti at the University of Bologna in Italy, who led the work, said it was important to investigate if the virus could be carried more widely by air pollution. This would explain higher rates of infection in parts of northern Italy before a lockdown was imposed. The region is one of the most polluted in Europe.
Previous studies have shown that air pollution particles do harbour microbes and that pollution is likely to have carried the viruses causing bird flu, measles and foot-and-mouth disease over considerable distances.