A newly developed experimental set-up was used to study transmission of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 through the air between ferrets over more than a meter distance.
Both viruses caused a robust productive respiratory tract infection resulting in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to two of four indirect recipient ferrets and SARS-CoV to all four. A control pandemic A/H1N1 influenza virus also transmitted efficiently.
Serological assays confirmed all virus transmission events. Although the experiments did not discriminate between transmission via small aerosols, large droplets and fomites, these results demonstrate that SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious while traveling through the air