Soumya Swaminathan, 63, admitted the WHO should have admitted earlier that SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted through aerosols as she said in her time in the post.
“We should have done it earlier, based on the available evidence, which is something that cost the organisation,” Swaminathan said. Know from the inside. “You can argue with that [the criticism of WHO] Unfair, because when it comes to immigration [of the viris]we talked about all the methods, including ventilation and masking.
But at the same time, we weren’t forcefully saying, “This is an airborne virus.” I regret that we didn’t do this much, much earlier.”
In July 2020, The World Health Organization has updated its guidance on airborne transmissionstating that “airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols”.
“The World Health Organization, together with the scientific community, is actively discussing and evaluating whether Covid may also be spread through aerosols in the absence of aerosol generation procedures, particularly in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.”
In March 2021, the World Health Organization published Updated report on the relationship between COVID transmission and aerosol generation procedures, which she described as “any medical procedures that can induce the production of aerosols of various sizes.”
It lists the use of ventilation tubes in patients, non-invasive ventilation, tracheostomy, resuscitation, manual ventilation before intubation and dental procedures as examples.
Swaminathan first joined the WHO in 2017, and was later appointed by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the organization’s inaugural chief scientist. Last week, she announced that she would be leaving her job at the end of the month to work in public health in India.
Swaminathan’s successor has yet to be named, but her departure comes at a time of major change for the organisation. Through its leadership team of 16 people, Eight will leave the world organization at the end of November Including Dr. Mariangela Simao, Assistant Director General. This marks the most significant leadership change since 2019.