Respiratory Virus Shedding in Exhaled Breath and Efficacy of Face Masks

Nat Med. 2020 May;26(5):676-680. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0843-2. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Abstract

We identified seasonal human coronaviruses, influenza viruses and rhinoviruses in exhaled breath and coughs of children and adults with acute respiratory illness. Surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / isolation & purification
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Exhalation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Masks / virology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / isolation & purification
  • Orthomyxoviridae / pathogenicity
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / pathology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / transmission*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology
  • Virus Shedding

Substances

  • Aerosols
  • RNA, Viral

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19