News Release

Can SARS-CoV-2 be detected in a few exhalations?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


In a study published by Wiley in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, investigators could detect SARS-CoV-2 in the exhaled breaths and coughs of individuals with COVID-19.

For the study, researchers analyzed exhalations by two different methods during 20 normal breaths, 10 airway opening breaths (which involves deep inhalation followed by relaxed exhalation), and 3 coughs.

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by PCR in aerosols was possible in 10 out of 25 participants. The presence of virus RNA in aerosol was mainly found in cough samples (8 samples), but also in normal breaths (4 samples) and in airway opening breaths (3 samples).

“Our data confirm findings from other researchers, that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in aerosol particles <5 µm and highlight the small amount of exhaled aerosol needed for detection. Of specific interest were findings from the airway opening maneuver, which is thought to generate particles mainly from the small airways,” said lead author Emilia Viklund, PhD student at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden. “COVID-19 cause a lot of damage in this region, and it would be of great interest to further explore the amount of exhaled virus and the course of disease, as well as the infectious potential of exhaled virus.”

URL Upon Publication:


About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education, unlocking human potential by enabling discovery, powering education, and shaping workforces. For over 200 years, Wiley has fueled the world’s knowledge ecosystem. Today, our high-impact content, platforms, and services help researchers, learners, institutions, and corporations achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. Visit us at, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.