Have you ever wondered how the air we breathe can cause respiratory irritation? What is in that haze or smog that sometimes blankets urban cities? Sure, it probably contains chemicals and maybe even smoke - but there's a lot more to it than just a chemical soup. In today's Livestream we're going to deep dive into particulate matter, or PM and review what's known about the fungal contribution. Then we're going to look at the inflammatory potential of mould fragments in the PM2.5 and PM10 and ultra-small size ranges (yes, even down to the nanoscale).
If we use molecular methods to investigate what's in the air, we quickly discover that there's a lot of mould in the air. Some scientists have been able to fractionate those fungi present in the PM2.5 and PM10 size range and relate this with 'hazy' and 'non-hazy' atmospheric conditions. This visual picture (called a heatmap) shows how the different fungi are distributed across the size range we typically use to describe the haze.
Then we'll look at how cytokines are involved.
What's fascinating is that the hyphal fragments are able to elicit in some cases and even stronger effect than the intact spores.
From this perspective, we'll then look into the connection between particulate matter and the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection levels. There's some excellent emerging research saying that the worse the PM, the higher the number of cases of COVID-19. Watch the livestream to see if it's just the presence of PM that causes for example an immune reaction, perhaps pre-disposing people to SARS-CoV-2 or if the particles themselves are transmitting the virus.
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