Indoor transmission of viruses under different ventilation measures

In a research project, SMHI and Gothenburg University cooperates to discover how indoor ventilation affects the transmission of the virus causing the disease Covid-19.

The Covid-19 disease is caused by the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 spread by small respiratory droplets or secretions from the respiratory tract. Medium-range transport of SARS-CoV-2 by small aerosol particles in closed indoor environments can lead to an elevated infection risk that primarily depends on virus concentration in air and exposure time.

To mitigate the infection risk one needs to consider the effect of different ventilation measures on the pathogen concentration, and the residence time of receptive individuals in different types of indoor environments, such as office spaces, class rooms, public transportation, restaurants, etc.

A main ambition of this project is to bring together experimental expertise from medical sciences at Gothenburg University, and modelling expertise from aerosol physics at SMHI in order to study indoor aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers will perform measurements of aerosol emission by healthy and infected individuals during different breathing manoeuvres, phonation, forced exhalation and coughing, and use the emission data in an indoor aerosol transport model to compute pathogen concentrations in various indoor settings with and without different mitigation measures.

The project runs during 2022-2023 and is financed by the Swedish research council for sustainable development Formas.

Project manager: Michael Kahnert, SMHI meteorological research

Project members: Johan Westin och Lars-Magnus Andersson, University of Gothenburg, Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Diseases

Anna-Carin Olin, University of Gothenburg, Occupational and environmental medicine, Community medicine and public health, Institute of Medicine and Sahlgrenska University Hospital