The role of outdoor and indoor air quality in the spread of SARS-CoV-2: Overview and recommendations by the research group on COVID-19 and particulate matter (RESCOP commission)

the RESCOP Commission established by Environmental Research (Elsevier)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There are important questions surrounding the potential contribution of outdoor and indoor air quality in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and perpetuation of COVID-19 epidemic waves. Environmental health may be a critical component of COVID-19 prevention. The public health community and health agencies should consider the evolving evidence in their recommendations and statements, and work to issue occupational guidelines. Evidence coming from the current epidemiological and experimental research is expected to add knowledge about virus diffusion, COVID-19 severity in most polluted areas, inter-personal distance requirements and need for wearing face masks in indoor or outdoor environments. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for maintaining particulate matter concentrations at low levels for multiple health-related reasons, which may also include the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Indoor environments represent even a more crucial challenge to cope with, as it is easier for the SARS-COV2 to spread, remain vital and infect other subjects in closed spaces in the presence of already infected asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people. The potential merits of preventive measures, such as CO2 monitoring associated with natural or controlled mechanical ventilation and air purification, for schools, indoor public places (restaurants, offices, hotels, museums, theatres/cinemas etc.) and transportations need to be carefully considered. Hospital settings and nursing/retirement homes as well as emergency rooms, infectious diseases divisions and ambulances represent higher risk indoor environments and may require additional monitoring and specific decontamination strategies based on mechanical ventilation or air purification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113038
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors are grateful to all the members of the RESCOP study group who are not listed among the authors of this paper and particularly to: Prof. Frank Kelly, head of the Global Centre of Air pollution research at Imperial College in London; Prof. Antonio Alcami from Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology in Madrid; Prof. Darby Jack and Prof. Steven Chillrud from Columbia University, New York; Prof. M. Cristina Tirado von der Pahlen, director of the UCLA Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (Los Angeles); Prof. Cyril Gueydan, Mr. Oliveir Berten, Ms. Anne Botteaux from Universit? libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and Dr. Sandrine Bladt from Bruxelles Environnement; Prof. Antonio Marco Pantaleo (Imperial College, London); Prof. Francesco Salustri (University of Oxford); Prof. Igor Pereira (University of Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil); Prof. Nguyen Tien Huy (University of Nagasaki, Japan); Prof. Riccardo Pansini (University of Dali, Yunnan, China), and Prof. Davide Fornacca (University of Geneve). Authors are also grateful to Daniel Lovegrove (Elsevier) for his support and advice in setting up the RESCOP Commission on Environmental Research journal.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Air pollution
  • Air quality
  • CO2 monitoring
  • COVID-19
  • Indoor environments
  • Ventilation


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