UCF researchers create COVID super-spreader profile: Asymptomatic young man

A group of researchers at the University of Central Florida have been modeling how COVID-19 spreads. The takeaway from their research is that if you're a COVID-positive younger man, whose only symptom is a stuffy nose, then you check all the boxes for being a super-spreader.

UCF professors Michael Kinzel and Kareem Ahmed worked on the study.

“We're using computers that resolve all the dynamics of the fluids inside a real sneeze. We're modeling droplets and how they form in to aerosols and these sorts of things,” Kinzel said.

He said they realized that peoples' different physical characteristics had a big role in how badly they spread the virus.

“So, we added a nasal passage, we added the esophagus, we added teeth and these sorts of things.”

When they added it all up, Kinzel said they came up with a pretty solid profile of who is a COVID supers-spreader.

“It's most likely a younger male that's asymptomatic, maybe has a little bit of a clogged nose.”

Kinzel said it was because all those factors contributed to spreading the disease when a person coughed or sneezed. That's why Ahmed said it was so important to keep wearing masks.

A transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the United States. Note the crown-like spikes on the outer edge of the virus, hence the term "coron (NIAID-RML)

“Masks essentially stop and prevent that from propagating further.”

The researchers have also created a kind of cough drop that thickens your saliva as you eat it, and keeps you from spreading COVID particles. The pair said they hoped their anti-COVID cough drop would be ready for sale by the end of the year.

“We do have an actual candy, a chocolate, already developed with a provisional patent on it,” Ahmed said, “and we're looking at mass production at this stage.”