Hong Kong research team find that tests on hamsters reveal widespread use of face masks reduces transmission of coronavirus
IN Hong Kong tests on hamsters reveal the widespread use of face masks reduces transmission of the deadly coronavirus. Research by the University of Hong Kong is some of the first to specifically investigate whether masks can stop symptomatic and asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers from infecting others.
The research team led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung placed hamsters that were artificially infected with the disease next to healthy animals. Surgical masks were placed between the two cages with airflow travelling from the infected animals to the healthy ones. The researchers found non-contact transmission of the virus could be reduced by more than 60 per cent when the masks were used and two-thirds of the healthy hamsters were infected within a week if no masks were applied.
The infection rate plunged to just over 15 per cent when surgical masks were put on the cage of the infected animals and by about 35 per cent when placed on the cage with the healthy hamsters.
“It also explained why universal masking is important because we now have known that a large number of those infected have no symptom.”
Previously, the World Health Organisation and many other foreign health authorities dismissed using masks widely among the public, saying they should instead go to frontline medical workers.
Experts have credited widespread mask use as well as efficient testing, tracing and treatment in the city of 7.5 million for the relatively low numbers.