Studying Coughs

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Bioaerosols–tiny airborne fluid droplets generated by coughing or sneezing–are a major concern for the spread of contagions like influenza. It may be possible, however, to mitigate some of these effects by manipulating biological fluid properties. The video above shows an experimental model of a cough, complete with the generation of bioaerosols from some fake human lung mucus. Contrast this with a cough where the model’s mucus has been treated to increase its viscoelasticity. The treated mucus generates substantially fewer droplets during a cough. The results suggest that drugs that increase viscoselasticity of biofluids may help stem the spread of disease. (Video credit: K. Argue et al.; research credit: M. D. A. Hasan et al.)

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