According to a new study, dust particles that float in the air can help carry and spread the flu and other viruses — a finding that may help us better understand COVID-19.
Researchers found that tissues soaked with flu virus — and allowed to dry — could emit possibly infectious particles when they're crumpled up. As part of their work, the researchers also painted guinea pigs with the virus to track particle movement.
University of California, Davis researcher William Ristenpart said, "It's really shocking to most virologists and epidemiologists that airborne dust, rather than expiratory droplets, can carry influenza virus capable of infecting animals."
Researchers used animals in the study so it's still unclear if humans can contract viruses through particles in the air. But the scientists say transmission via dust opens up whole new areas of investigation and has, quote, "obvious implications for coronavirus transmission."