All SARS-CoV-2 particles currently circulating in the world weigh only about 10 kg, experts from the Weizmann Institute in Israel found out. They set out the details in an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To calculate how many virus particles each infected person can carry, the scientists used results from previous studies of virion concentrations in rhesus monkey tissues, including the lungs, tonsils, lymph nodes, and the digestive system. Having recalculated these data, taking into account the characteristics of the human body and the mutations that the virus accumulates during the time it is in the body, the researchers found that each person carries from 1 to 10 μg of virions at the peak of infection. Taking into account the number of patients, the total mass of particles is currently 0.1-10 kg.
This variation is due to the difference in viral load in some people – asymptomatic carriers, as a rule, have a lower concentration of the virus in the body than those who are faced with a severe course of the disease.
The authors of the work hope that the obtained data will push their colleagues to new research.