Computational characterization of inhaled droplet transport in the upper airway leading to SARS-CoV-2 infection

Saikat Basu

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Received date: 2nd October 2020

How human respiratory physiology and the transport phenomena associated with the inhaled airflow therein proceed to impact transmission of SARS-CoV-2, leading to the initial infection, is an open question. An answer can help determine the susceptibility of an individual on exposure to a COVID-2019 carrier and can also quantify the still-unknown infectious dose for the disease. Synergizing computational fluid mechanics enabled tracking of respiratory transport in medical imaging-based anatomic domains, with sputum assessment data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients and earlier measurements of ejecta size distribution during regular speech - this study shows that the regional deposition of virus-laden inhaled droplets at the initial nasopharyngeal infection sites peaks for the droplet size range of 2.5 - 19 microns, and reveals that the number of virions that go on to establish the infection can be merely in the order of hundreds.

Read in full at medRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature