U of U studies coronavirus “super-spreaders” and their mucus
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A University of Utah researcher is getting an urgent government grant to study the transmission of coronaviruses, Specifically she’ll study how so-called “super-spreaders” account for so many infections during an outbreak.
“Mucus is at the center of the story,” said Doctor Jessica Kramer on KSL Newsradio’s ‘Utah’s Morning News’ with Tim and Amanda.
‘Super-spreaders’ and COVID-19
The slimy bodily fluid can transmit COVID-19 and other coronaviruses in small airborne droplets. But some people seem to transmit the viruses more than others.
“Actually, only 20% of individuals are thought to contribute to 80% percent of transmissions. And it’s not simply poor hygiene,” said Kramer.
Not much is known about how these “super-spreaders” are created. Researchers want to know why some people exposed to coronaviruses do not track them to others. Mucus could be the answer to those questions.
“Our new grant is to study how the different qualities of mucus may explain this phenomenon,” said Kramer.
A $200,000 one-year Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant was awarded to Dr. Kramer, an assistant biomedical engineering professor. The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation
The mucus of ‘super-spreaders’ is different
Not everybody’s mucus is the same. It can vary from person to person based on everything from genetics to diet. Many different proteins make up mucus. Coronaviruses bond to specific proteins. Super-spreaders might have something in common, and it could be in their mucus.
“The coronavirus might actually be able to bind to the mucus of some people, but not others.”
According to a University release, Dr. Kramer’s lab will create different forms of synthetic mucins. They’ll use special aerosols to simulate coughing, and they’ll see how different mucins carry non-hazardous versions of coronaviruses.
Listen here to the interview with Dr. Jessica Kramer on Utah’s Morning News with Tim and Amanda:
Today’s Top Stories
- Herd of elk pushed away from I-80 and moved back into mountains
- Jordan High student killed in Sandy crosswalk by school bus
- Utah Senate passes transgender-related surgery ban for minors
- SLC restaurant “Manoli’s” nominated for James Beard Award
- Utah leading a lawsuit against new ESG rule affecting 401(k) plans
- Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest
- Utah safety officials, NAACP, react to death of Tyre Nichols
- Two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery, here’s why
- Salt Lake City traffic stop leads to drug bust, illegal gun recovered
- Three teens in custody after fight, shooting at Taylorsville High