COV-IRT Member Publication: Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks

COV-IRT member, Donald K. Milton, is a co-author on this paper.

This paper was published on April 3, 2020 in Nature Medicine.


We identified seasonal human coronaviruses, influenza viruses and rhinoviruses in exhaled breath and coughs of children and adults with acute respiratory illness. Surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.

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