WHO officials are reviewing new evidence of airborne transmission, importance of ventilation in fighting coronavirus

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World Health Organization (WHO) Chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on January 12, 2020 in Geneva.

FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Tuesday it is reviewing new evidence on whether the coronavirus can spread through particles in the air.

“We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission, aerosol transmission, as one of the modes of transmission of Covid-19 as well as droplets,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit. “We will be issuing our brief in the coming weeks and that will outline everything that we have in this area.”

WHO’s remarks come after 239 scientists from 32 different countries published an open letter to the organization calling for them to update their information on the coronavirus.

In an article entitled “It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19,” the group of scientists argue that the WHO needs to give more weight to the role of the airborne spread of Covid-19. The New York Times first reported the news on Saturday.

“The body of evidence continues to grow and we adapt,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said. “We take this very seriously. We are of course focused on public health guidance.”

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