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Tests show face masks reduce transmission risk of coronavirus

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Tests on hamsters reveal the widespread use of face masks reduces transmission of the deadly coronavirus, a team of leading experts in Hong Kong said.

The 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.

Led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, one of the world’s top coronavirus experts, the team placed hamsters that were artificially infected with the disease next to healthy animals.

Surgical masks were placed between the two cages with air flow 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 percent when the masks were used.

Two thirds of the healthy hamsters were infected within a week if no masks were applied.

The infection rate plunged to just over 15 percent when surgical masks were put on the cage of the infected animals and by about 35 percent when placed on the cage with the healthy hamsters.

Those that did become infected were also found to have less of the virus within their bodies than those infected without a mask.

 

Read more France 24/AFP/ University of Hong Kong

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