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  1. The nasopharynx, at the back of the nose, constitutes the dominant initial viral infection trigger zone along the upper respiratory tract. However, as per the standard recommended usage protocol (“Current Use”, or CU) for intranasal sprays, the nozzle should enter the nose almost vertically, resulting in sub-optimal nasopharyngeal drug deposition. Through the Large Eddy Simulation technique, this study has replicated airflow under standard breathing conditions with 15 and 30 L/min inhalation rates, passing through medical scan-based anatomically accurate human airway cavities. The small-scale airflow fluctuations were resolved through use of a sub-grid scale Kinetic Energy Transport Model. Intranasally sprayed droplet trajectories for different spray axis placement and orientation conditions were subsequently tracked via Lagrangian-based inert discrete phase simulations against the ambient inhaled airflow field. Finally, this study verified the computational projections for the upper airway drug deposition trends against representative physical experiments on sprayed delivery performed in a 3D-printed anatomic replica. The model-based exercise has revealed a new “Improved Use” (or, IU) spray usage protocol for viral infections. It entails pointing the spray bottle at a shallower angle (with an almost horizontal placement at the nostril), aiming slightly toward the cheeks. From the conically injected spray droplet simulations, we have summarily derived the following inferences: (a) droplets sized between 7–17  μ m are relatively more efficient at directly reaching the nasopharynx via inhaled transport; and (b) with realistic droplet size distributions, as found in current over-the-counter spray products, the targeted drug delivery through the IU protocol outperforms CU by a remarkable 2 orders-of-magnitude. 
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  2. Abstract

    Mammals have presumably evolved to adapt to a diverse range of ambient environmental conditions through the optimized heat and mass exchange. One of the crucial biological structures for survivability is the nose, which efficiently transports and thermally preconditions the external air before reaching the internal body. Nasal mucosa and cavity help warm and humidify the inhaled air quickly. Despite its crucial role, the morphological features of mammal noses and their effect in modulating the momentum of the inhaled air, heat transfer dynamics, and particulate trapping remain poorly understood. Tortuosity of the nasal cavity in high-olfactory mammalian species, such as pigs and opossum, facilitates the formation of complex airflow patterns inside the nasal cavity, which leads to the screening of particulates from the inhaled air. We explored basic nasal features in anatomically realistic nasal pathways, including tortuosity, radius of curvature, and gap thickness; they show strong power-law correlations with body weight. Complementary inspection of tortuosity with idealized conduits reveals that this quantity is central in particle capture efficiency. Mechanistic insights into such nuances can serve as a tipping point to transforming nature-based designs into practical applications. In-depth characterization of the fluid–particle interactions in nasal cavities is necessary to uncover nose mechanistic functionalities. It is instrumental in developing new devices and filters in a number of engineering processes.

     
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  3. In the face of a long-running pandemic, understanding the drivers of ongoing SARS-CoV-2 transmission is crucial for the rational management of COVID-19 disease burden. Keeping schools open has emerged as a vital societal imperative during the pandemic, but in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can contribute to further prolonging the pandemic. In this context, the role of schools in driving SARS-CoV-2 transmission acquires critical importance. Here we model in-school transmission from first principles to investigate the effectiveness of layered mitigation strategies on limiting in-school spread. We examined the effect of masks and air quality (ventilation, filtration and ionizers) on steady-state viral load in classrooms, as well as on the number of particles inhaled by an uninfected person. The effectiveness of these measures in limiting viral transmission was assessed for variants with different levels of mean viral load (ancestral, Delta, Omicron). Our results suggest that a layered mitigation strategy can be used effectively to limit in-school transmission, with certain limitations. First, poorly designed strategies (insufficient ventilation, no masks, staying open under high levels of community transmission) will permit in-school spread even if some level of mitigation is present. Second, for viral variants that are sufficiently contagious, it may be difficult to construct any set of interventions capable of blocking transmission once an infected individual is present, underscoring the importance of other measures. Our findings provide practical recommendations; in particular, the use of a layered mitigation strategy that is designed to limit transmission, with other measures such as frequent surveillance testing and smaller class sizes (such as by offering remote schooling options to those who prefer it) as needed. 
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  4. Backgroud The nasal route of targeted drug administration facilitates medical management of chronic and acute onsets of various respiratory conditions such as rhinitis and sinusitis and during the initial onset phase of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, when the infection is still contained within the upper airway. Nevertheless, patient comfort issues that are often associated with intranasal devise usage can lead to low compliance, thereby compromising treatment efficacy. Hence, there is an urgent need to detect reproducible and user-friendly intranasal drug delivery modalities that may promote adoption compliance and yet be effective at targeted transport of drugs to the infective airway regions. Methods In this pilot study, we have collected evaluation feedback from a cohort of 13 healthy volunteers, who used an open-angle swirling effect atomizer to assess two different nasal spray administration techniques (with 0.9% saline solution), namely the vertical placement protocol (or, VP), wherein the nozzle is held vertically upright at a shallow insertion depth of 0.5 cm inside the nasal vestibule; and the shallow angle protocol (or, SA), wherein the spray axis is angled at 45° to the vertical, with a vestibular insertion depth of 1.5 cm. The VP protocol is based on current usage instructions, while the SA protocol is derived from published findings on alternate spray orientations that have been shown to enhance targeted drug delivery at posterior infection sites, e.g., the ostiomeatal complex and the nasopharynx. Results All study participants reported that the SA protocol offered a more gentle and soothing delivery experience, with less impact pressure. Additionally, 60% of participants reported that the VP technique caused painful irritation. We also numerically tracked the drug transport processes for the two spray techniques in a computed tomography-based nasal cavity reconstruction; the SA protocol registered a distinct improvement in airway penetration when compared to the VP protocol. Conclusion The participant-reported unequivocally favorable experience with the new SA protocol justifies a full-scale clinical study aimed at testing the related medication compliance parameters and the corresponding therapeutic efficacies. 
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  5. Passive filtering is a common strategy to reduce airborne disease transmission and particulate contaminants across scales spanning orders of magnitude. The engineering of high-performance filters with relatively low flow resistance but high virus- or particle-blocking efficiency is a non-trivial problem of paramount relevance, as evidenced in the variety of industrial filtration systems and face masks. Next-generation industrial filters and masks should retain sufficiently small droplets and aerosols while having low resistance. We introduce a novel 3D-printable particle filter inspired by animals’ complex nasal anatomy. Unlike standard random-media-based filters, the proposed concept relies on equally spaced channels with tortuous airflow paths. These two strategies induce distinct effects: a reduced resistance and a high likelihood of particle trapping by altering their trajectories with tortuous paths and induced local flow instability. The structures are tested for pressure drop and particle filtering efficiency over different airflow rates. We have also cross-validated the observed efficiency through numerical simulations. We found that the designed filters exhibit a lower pressure drop, compared to commercial masks and filters, while capturing particles bigger than approximately 10 μm. Our findings could facilitate a novel and scalable filter concept inspired by animal noses. 
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  6. Abstract

    How human respiratory physiology and the transport phenomena associated with inhaled airflow in the upper airway proceed to impact transmission of SARS-CoV-2, leading to the initial infection, stays an open question. An answer can help determine the susceptibility of an individual on exposure to a COVID-2019 carrier and can also provide a preliminary projection of the still-unknown infectious dose for the disease. Computational fluid mechanics enabled tracking of respiratory transport in medical imaging-based anatomic domains shows that the regional deposition of virus-laden inhaled droplets at the initial nasopharyngeal infection site peaks for the droplet size range of approximately 2.5–19$$\upmu $$μ. Through integrating the numerical findings on inhaled transmission with sputum assessment data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients and earlier measurements of ejecta size distribution generated during regular speech, this study further reveals that the number of virions that may go on to establish the SARS-CoV-2 infection in a subject could merely be in the order of hundreds.

     
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  7. Background

    Endoscopic craniofacial resections (CFR) are performed for extensive anterior skull base lesions. This surgery involves removal of multiple intranasal structures, potentially leading to empty nose syndrome (ENS). However, many patients remain asymptomatic postoperatively. Our objective was to analyze the impact of CFR on nasal physiology and airflow using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This is the first CFD analysis of post‐CFR patients.

    Methods

    Three‐dimensional sinonasal models were constructed from 3 postoperative images using MimicsTM. Hybrid computational meshes were created. Steady inspiratory airflow and heat transport were simulated at patient‐specific flow rates using shear stress transportk‐omega turbulent flow modeling in FluentTM. Simulated average heat flux (HF) and surface area where HF exceeded 50 W/m2(SAHF50) were compared with laminar simulations in 9 radiographically normal adults.

    Results

    Three adults underwent CFR without developing ENS. Average HF (W/m2) were 132.70, 134.84, and 142.60 in the CFR group, ranging from 156.24 to 234.95 in the nonoperative cohort. SAHF50 (m2) values were 0.0087, 0.0120, and 0.0110 in the CFR group, ranging from 0.0082 to 0.0114 in the radiographically normal cohort. SAHF50 was distributed throughout the CFR cavities, with increased HF at the roof and walls compared with the nonoperative cohort.

    Conclusion

    Average HF was low in the CFR group compared with the nonoperative group. However, absence of ENS in most CFR patients may be due to large stimulated mucosal surface area, commensurate with the nonoperative cohort. Diffuse distribution of stimulated area may result from turbulent mixing after CFR. To better understand heat transport post‐CFR, a larger cohort is necessary.

     
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