SAN FRANCISCO (CBSLA) — A new study from the University of California San Francisco suggests that masks do protect the wearer from contracting COVID-19.

“This one tiny thing could get us through the entire pandemic, including possibly getting all of us immune so we can get through this faster,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, the UCSF infectious disease doctor who led the study.

READ MORE: Housing Crisis: Newsom Signs Measures To Allow For More Duplexes, Apartments Near Transit

She said that new research shows the severity of a person’s COVID-19 symptoms can depend on how much of the virus enters the body.

“How much virus you get in is probably one of the most important determinants of how sick you get,” she said. “By having a mask over your face, it filters out the majority of viral particles. So, even if you do get exposed to COVID… you are going to get very little virus in, and if you do get COVID, you’ll get less sick.”

MORE: LA County Reports Single-Day Record Of New COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations

READ MORE: Dog Flu Spreading Quickly Across LA County

Gandhi pointed out that research has already proved that wearing a mask does protect others from the wearer by blocking how much that person spreads viral particles. The new evidence suggests that wearing a mask may now be mutually beneficial.

“This paper is putting together all the data of why we think masks protect you,” she said.

Gandhi added that an important takeaway from the study is that if people experience less severe symptoms of COVID-19 because they wore masks, the population will achieve herd immunity more quickly.

MORE NEWS: LA County Announces Re-Homing Program To Help Keep Pets Out Of Shelters

The report will be published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in July.