The investigators found that the virus tends to first infect the nasal cavity, which is why face masks might help limit transmission of the virus.
TUESDAY, June 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists studying the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus -- which causes COVID-19 -- believe they've discovered why face masks might help limit transmission of the virus.
The virus tends to first infect the nasal cavity, replicating less well in the lower respiratory tract, University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers found. However, sometimes it's sucked into the lungs, where it can cause serious consequences, including fatal pneumonia.
"If the nose is the dominant initial site from which lung infections are seeded, then the widespread use of masks to protect the nasal passages, as well as any therapeutic strategies that reduce virus in the nose, such as nasal irrigation or antiviral nasal sprays, could be beneficial," study co-author Dr. Richard Boucher said in a university news release.