A study released this Thursday confirms for the first time empirically that the spread of coronavirus inside homes was due to its presence on hands and surfaces, which, in the face of future pandemics, justifies the need to maintain good hygiene.
The study, carried out by scientists at Imperial College London in collaboration with the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) and the University of Oxford, shows that the risk of infection among close friends increased if the virus was present.” on people’s hands and frequently touched surfaces in the home.
The research led by Ajit Lalvani, published in “The Lancet Microbe”, did not examine the presence of the virus in the air and therefore does not rule out that it was also transmitted in this way.
The researchers examined 414 contacts who lived in the same households as 279 diagnosed cases, between August 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, at the height of the pandemic and when few people had been vaccinated. The age range was from 6 to 79 years, and 52% were women, they point out.
All “contacts” underwent regular PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection and swabs were also obtained from the hands of both the primary cases and their relatives, as well as from the most frequently handled surfaces, such as door handles. refrigerator doors and kettles or kitchen taps.
The researchers found that, “if the virus was detected on the hands of the primary cases, contacts in their household were 1.7 more likely to become infected than those in households where the primary cases did not have the virus on their hands.”
If the virus was present on surfaces, contacts were 3.8 times more likely to have the virus on their hands and 1.7 times more likely to test positive by PCR, they note.
Nalvani states that “until now it has not been shown that the presence of the virus on people’s hands or on household surfaces allows anticipating transmission to contacts.”
The findings therefore support the adoption of certain measures within the home when someone has an infection, in particular “frequent hand washing, regular disinfection of surfaces and physical distancing, as well as the use of masks to slow the spread of the infection.” COVID-19,” the study says.
The authors caution that their research is observational only, so it does not prove “causality,” and they further acknowledge that non-white ethnicities and older age groups were overrepresented. On the other hand, due to the dates in which it was developed, the study is limited to the pre-alpha and alpha variants, they point out.
#Coronavirus #spread #homes #hands