Spike In Covid-19 Cases May Be Related To Higher Airborne Po
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Researchers have reported an association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and airborne pollen concentrations. The global spread of Covid-19 coincided with a large seasonal peak in pollen emissions in the northern hemisphere. According to the research, when airborne pollen levels were higher, increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates could be observed.

The team collected data on airborne pollen concentrations, weather conditions, and SARS-CoV-2 infections - taking into consideration the variation of infection rates from one day to another and the total number of positive tests. In their calculations, the team also included data on population density and the effects of lockdown measures. The 154 researchers analysed pollen data from 130 stations in 31 countries on five continents.

The team showed that airborne pollen can account for, on average, 44 percent of the variation in infection rates, with humidity and air temperature also playing a role in some cases. During intervals without lockdown regulations, infection rates were on average 4 percent higher with every increase of 100 grains of airborne pollen per cubic meter.

In some German cities, concentrations of up to 500 pollen grains per cubic meter per day were recorded which led to an overall increase in infection rates of more than 20 percent. High pollen concentrations lead to a weaker immune response in airways to viruses that can cause coughs and colds.

But if airborne pollen concentrations are high, and pollen grains are inhaled with the virus particles, fewer antiviral interferons are generated. The beneficial inflammatory response itself is also affected. Therefore, on days with a high concentration of pollen, it can lead to an increase in the number of respiratory illnesses.

Source:
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/12/e2019034118
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