Health

The Importance of Face Masks

Limiting the transmission of COVID-19

Limiting the transmission of COVID-19

In a scientific article published in the journal Cell, scientists at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Medicine have characterized the specific ways in which SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — infects the nasal cavity.

The findingsOpens in new window suggest the virus tends to become firmly established first in the nasal cavity. Then, in some cases, the virus is aspirated into the lungs where it may cause more serious diseases, including potentially fatal pneumonia.

“If the nose is the dominant initial site from which lung infections are seeded, then the widespread use of masks to protect the nasal passages, as well as any therapeutic strategies that reduce virus in the nose, such as nasal irrigation or antiviral nasal sprays, could be beneficial,” said study co-senior author Dr. Richard Boucher, the James C. Moeser Eminent Distinguished Professor of medicine and director of the Marsico Lung Institute at the UNC School of Medicine.

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