Forest fires, which caused significant damage in Siberia in 2019, could be a factor contributing to the spread of coronavirus in some regions. This view is shared by Andrei Yurchenko, the first deputy director of the Institute of Computational Technologies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Olga Dorokhova, executive secretary of this working group, informed TASS correspondent on Monday at a meeting of a working group at the SB RAS on overcoming coronavirus infection.
“In our opinion, the next very serious threat will be the imposition of environmental problems in individual regions and the consequences of forest fires that have begun to spread on the pandemic situation. It is known that smog, including smoke from forest fires, air quality, directly affect respiratory organs, exacerbating any pulmonary pathology. In addition, it was able to reduce the insolation and penetration of ultraviolet radiation, natural factors that reduce the virality (i.e. spread) of COVID-19, “Yurchenko said. His institute is engaged in mathematical predictions of the spread of coronavirus and the development of proposals to overcome the consequences of a pandemic.
According to the scientist, a large number of dust particles in the air contributes to the spread of infection. The fact is that dust is a natural carrier of coronavirus over long distances. Provided that the virus particles remain active for up to five days, the probability of its spread increases.
Dorokhova also reported on the speech at the meeting of the working group of the Deputy Chief Scientific Secretary of the SB RAS Yuri Anikin. He believes that it is necessary to create a comprehensive forecasting model that takes into account various processes in a pandemic – biological, economic, social. He suggested evaluating each industry affected by this model with the involvement of specialists from this industry.
Scientists of the Siberian Branch, where the first working group at the Russian Academy of Sciences on the fight against coronavirus was formed, had earlier sent their proposals to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Among them: a project for the production of self-cleaning medical masks, the development of an RNA vaccine (based on ribonucleic acid) that prevents the spread of a viral infection on a genetic basis and reduces its pathogenicity. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on April 1 that 22 trials for the treatment of coronavirus infection, which are presented by the SB RAS, are currently being conducted.
In July 2019, fires began in remote areas of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Irkutsk Region, Buryatia, Transbaikalia and Yakutia. The area they covered amounted to about 1% of the total forest area of the country. Damage to the economy is estimated at 14 billion rubles.