As the Covid-19 continues to mutate, researchers are conducting studies to closely monitor this deadly virus. In this direction, the researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have found that holding breath or breathing at a slower rate may increase the risk of infection with Covid-19. In their study, the researchers have attributed the reason to the increased process of the virus-laden droplet which transports into the deep lung as the breathing frequency decreases.
As per a report in the Hindustan Times, in a laboratory, the study team modeled the breathing frequency and found that low breathing frequency increases the time of the virus' residence and thus increases the likelihood of deposition and hence the infection. The multi-scale lung structure also has a profound impact on the susceptibility of an individual to Covid-19.
Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, department of applied mechanics, IIT Madras, with his research scholars Arnab Kumar Mallik and Soumalya Mukherjee have conducted the study that has been published in the international journal 'Physics of Fluids'.
Stressing the need for such research, Prof. Panchagnula said, "Covid-19 has opened a gap in our understanding of deep pulmonological systemic diseases. Our study unravels the mystery behind how particles are transported and deposited in the deep lung. The study demonstrates the physical process by which aerosol particles are transported into the deep generations of the lung."
Team studied the movement of droplets in the bronchus
The team reported in their research that holding the breath and having a low breathing rate may increase the likelihood of deposition of the virus in the lungs. Airborne infections, such as Covid-19, transmit largely through sneezing and coughing as a substantial amount of tiny droplets is released instantly. By studying the movement of droplets in the small capillaries that were of similar diameter to bronchioles, the team imitated droplet dynamics in the lungs.
In an official statement, IIT Madras said, "The study was conducted to pave the way for developing better therapies and drugs for respiratory infections. Previous work from the group has also highlighted the significant variability in aerosol uptake from individual to individual, suggesting a reason why some people are more susceptible to airborne diseases than others."