Is this the end of the hydroalcoholic gel? At the beginning of the pandemic, it was believed that the coronavirus was transmitted through sneezing, coughing, but primarily through contact with infected surfaces. But gradually, experts found that this transmission occurs mainly through the aerosol that an infected person releases during a conversation or even breathing. And that contact with virus-infected surfaces poses little risk of infection. However, studies have shown that the virus can remain intact on surfaces for several days: up to 28 days on smooth surfaces such as mobile phone screens! But despite this resistance, not a single case of infection has been found in which the only possible route of transmission would be a contaminated surface. So why isn’t a virus that can stay on a doorknob or any other smooth surface contagious in this mode of transmission? The answer will be hidden in our mucous membranes!
The hidden powers of mucin
According to a study published February 14, 2022 in the journal ACS Central Science According to researchers from the University of Utah (USA), a coronavirus stuck on a surface would lose its transmissibility due to the presence of a protein, mucin, in the forerunners. This protein is produced by our mucous membranes and its main role is to keep these areas of the body moist. “But besides being a lubricant, mucin also has a hidden power against certain pathogens, it attaches itself to their surface and prevents them from sticking to our cells, thus reducing the risk of infection.,” says Jessica Kramer, author of the study.
And this superpower would be even more protective when it operates outside of our bodies:When you cough or sneeze, the virus is shed in droplets surrounded by other molecules present in the airways, including mucins. she details. These droplets will cling to surfaces where they dry quickly: the water evaporates, bringing the elements inside the drop closer together. Thus, the concentration of mucin around the coronavirus will increase, further surrounding the virus.” So even if we touch a surface and the virus ends up in our hands and then in our mouth or nose, it won’t be able to attach itself to our cells because its spike proteins (which the virus uses to stick to our cells) will be blocked. which means there will be no infection.