Imaging of Exhaled Breath potent to provide insights of spread of COVID-19, finds research


In the ongoing fight to contain the spread of COVID-19, any development that signals risk of spread of the virus is favorable. A new method for imaging breath that is exhaled when someone is singing or speaking could provide new insights to understand how diseases such as COVID-19 spread and how masks work in the process.

“Based on clinical experiments, scientists believe, SARS-CoV-2 primarily transmits through respiratory drops that can be carried in the breath or discharged through coughing or sneezing, stated the scientist who carried out the research.” Besides this, the virus also spreads through airborne aerosols – which are small particles that survive in the air for longer period than larger droplets.

New method enables to gauge distance breath travels

Coming back to the new method, it provides a way to gauge how far the breath travels before it disperses in the surrounding. Knowing this, the system can provide visual proof that masks significantly restricts the distance breath travels in the air.

The use of an alternative of electronic speckle pattern interferometry for imaging temperature differences between surrounding air and exhaled breath is described by the researcher in the journal Applied Optics of the Optical Society. Furthermore, the new technique can also be used to study the details of flow of breath while singing or speaking, which could be useful for speech therapy or music instruction.

“In fact, the researcher developed the imaging technology to investigate how air passes through musical instruments such as organ pipes.” Meanwhile, amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the researcher strived to expand its use by means of imaging the breath of people speaking and singing. The scale up of the existing system could determine the reach of breath and efficacy of masks in limiting the reach of breath.

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