‘Holding breath may increase risk of Covid’

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) researchers have found that the process of virus-laden droplets being transported into deep lungs increases with decreasing breathing frequency.

According to a press release, the research team modelled the breathing frequency in a laboratory and found that low breathing frequency increases the time of residence of the virus and therefore it increases chances of deposition and consequently the infection. Also, the multi-scale lung structure has a significant effect on a person’s susceptibility to Covid-19.

The research was led by Professor Mahesh Panchagnula, Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, with his research scholars Arnab Kumar Mallik and Soumalya Mukherjee, IIT Madras.

The findings of this study were published in the international reputed peer-reviewed journal Physics of Fluids.

Panchagnula said, ‘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’.

Airborne infections such as coronavirus spread immensely through sneezing and coughing as it instantly releases a lot of tiny droplets.

The IIT Madras Research team imitated the droplet dynamics in the lung by studying the movement of droplets in the small capillaries which were of a diameter similar to bronchioles.

In future, the team intends to continue this work to understand how the virus-laden droplets are transported into lungs as the process by which the virus is transported from the nasal cavity to the deep lung is still unknown. An understanding of the physics of this phenomenon could be crucial in mitigating the progression of the disease.


NT Bureau