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Research shows that vaccines protect against severe symptoms of COVID-19 and are likely to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. However, uncertainty remains when considering public health responses to vaccine-resistant variants or future novel respiratory viruses.
While self-isolation remains a possible strategy, its effectiveness in preventing transmission is questionable. One study found that members of the same house contracted SARS-CoV-2 from each other in 55% of households.
Other research suggests that airborne transmission has links to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. And this is especially the case in households with more crowding, even if personal protective equipment is in use and household members practice isolation.
Knowing if airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles are present beyond isolation rooms in homes could help researchers develop ways to limit the spread of the virus within these settings.
In a recent study, researchers from Rutgers University, New Jersey, investigated whether airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles were present outside of isolation rooms in homes containing one household member with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result.
They found that aerosols of small respiratory droplets and nuclei containing airborne SARS-CoV-2 RNA were present both inside and outside of home isolation rooms and therefore may put other household members at risk.
The study appears in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.