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1.
Building and Environment ; 228:109924, 2023.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2158543

ABSTRACT

Predictive models for airborne infection risk have been extensively used during the pandemic, but there is yet still no consensus on a common approach, which may create misinterpretation of results among public health experts and engineers designing building ventilation. In this study we applied the latest data on viral load, aerosol droplet sizes and removal mechanisms to improve the Wells Riley model by introducing the following novelties i) a new model to calculate the total volume of respiratory fluid exhaled per unit time ii) developing a novel viral dose-based generation rate model for dehydrated droplets after expiration iii) deriving a novel quanta-RNA relationship for various strains of SARS-CoV-2 iv) proposing a method to account for the incomplete mixing conditions. These new approaches considerably changed previous estimates and allowed to determine more accurate average quanta emission rates including omicron variant. These quanta values for the original strain of 0.13 and 3.8 quanta/h for breathing and speaking and the virus variant multipliers may be used for simple hand calculations of probability of infection or with developed model operating with six size ranges of aerosol droplets to calculate the effect of ventilation and other removal mechanisms. The model developed is made available as an open-source tool.

2.
Appl Math Model ; 112: 800-821, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2003861

ABSTRACT

A widely used analytical model to quantitatively assess airborne infection risk is the Wells-Riley model which is limited to complete air mixing in a single zone. However, this assumption tends not to be feasible (or reality) for many situations. This study aimed to extend the Wells-Riley model so that the infection risk can be calculated in spaces where complete mixing is not present. Some more advanced ventilation concepts create either two horizontally divided air zones in spaces as displacement ventilation or the space may be divided into two vertical zones by downward plane jet as in protective-zone ventilation systems. This is done by evaluating the time-dependent distribution of infectious quanta in each zone and by solving the coupled system of differential equations based on the zonal quanta concentrations. This model introduces a novel approach by estimating the interzonal mixing factor based on previous experimental data for three types of ventilation systems: incomplete mixing ventilation, displacement ventilation, and protective zone ventilation. The modeling approach is applied to a room with one infected and one susceptible person present. The results show that using the Wells-Riley model based on the assumption of completely air mixing may considerably overestimate or underestimate the long-range airborne infection risk in rooms where air distribution is different than complete mixing, such as displacement ventilation, protected zone ventilation, warm air supplied from the ceiling, etc. Therefore, in spaces with non-uniform air distribution, a zonal modeling approach should be preferred in analytical models compared to the conventional single-zone Wells-Riley models when assessing long-range airborne transmission risk of infectious respiratory diseases.

3.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 11481, 2022 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921720

ABSTRACT

With a modified version of the Wells-Riley model, we simulated the size distribution and dynamics of five airborne viruses (measles, influenza, SARS-CoV-2, human rhinovirus, and adenovirus) emitted from a speaking person in a typical residential setting over a relative humidity (RH) range of 20-80% and air temperature of 20-25 °C. Besides the size transformation of virus-containing droplets due to evaporation, respiratory absorption, and then removal by gravitational settling, the modified model also considered the removal mechanism by ventilation. The trend and magnitude of RH impact depended on the respiratory virus. For rhinovirus and adenovirus humidifying the indoor air from 20/30 to 50% will be increasing the relative infection risk, however, this relative infection risk increase will be negligible for rhinovirus and weak for adenovirus. Humidification will have a potential benefit in decreasing the infection risk only for influenza when there is a large infection risk decrease for humidifying from 20 to 50%. Regardless of the dry solution composition, humidification will overall increase the infection risk via long-range airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Compared to humidification at a constant ventilation rate, increasing the ventilation rate to moderate levels 0.5 → 2.0 h-1 will have a more beneficial infection risk decrease for all viruses except for influenza. Increasing the ventilation rate from low values of 0.5 h-1 to higher levels of 6 h-1 will have a dominating effect on reducing the infection risk regardless of virus type.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Infections , Influenza, Human , Air Pollution, Indoor/adverse effects , Humans , Humidity , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Build Environ ; 206: 108387, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433013

ABSTRACT

A new design method is proposed to calculate outdoor air ventilation rates to control respiratory infection risk in indoor spaces. We propose to use this method in future ventilation standards to complement existing ventilation criteria based on the perceived air quality and pollutant removal. The proposed method makes it possible to calculate the required ventilation rate at a given probability of infection and quanta emission rate. Present work used quanta emission rates for SARS-CoV-2 and consequently the method can be applied for other respiratory viruses with available quanta data. The method was applied to case studies representing typical rooms in public buildings. To reduce the probability of infection, the total airflow rate per infectious person revealed to be the most important parameter to reduce the infection risk. Category I ventilation rate prescribed in the EN 16798-1 standard satisfied many but not all type of spaces examined. The required ventilation rates started from about 80 L/s per room. Large variations between the results for the selected case studies made it impossible to provide a simple rule for estimating the required ventilation rates. Consequently, we conclude that to design rooms with a low infection risk the newly developed ventilation design method must be used.

6.
Build Environ ; 205: 108278, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370455

ABSTRACT

A novel modified version of the Wells-Riley model was used to estimate the impact of relative humidity (RH) on the removal of respiratory droplets containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus by deposition through gravitational settling and its inactivation by biological decay; the effect of RH on susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 was not considered. These effects were compared with the removal achieved by increased ventilation rate with outdoor air. Modeling was performed assuming that the infected person talked continuously for 60 and 120 min. The results of modeling showed that the relative impact of RH on the infection risk depended on the ventilation rate and the size range of virus-laden droplets. A ventilation rate of 0.5 ACH, the change of RH between 20% and 53% was predicted to have a small effect on the infection risk, while at a ventilation rate of 6 ACH this change had nearly no effect. On the contrary, increasing the ventilation rate from 0.5 ACH to 6 ACH was predicted to decrease the infection risk by half which is remarkably larger effect compared with that predicted for RH. It is thus concluded that increasing the ventilation rate is more beneficial for reducing the airborne levels of SARS-CoV-2 than changing indoor RH. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The present results show that humidification to moderate levels of 40%-60% RH should not be expected to provide a significant reduction in infection risk caused by SARS-CoV-2, hence installing and running humidifiers may not be an efficient solution to reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease in indoor spaces. The results do however confirm that ventilation has a key role in controlling SARS-CoV-2 virus concentration in the air providing considerably higher benefits. The modified model developed in the present work can be used by public health experts, engineers, and epidemiologists when selecting different measures to reduce the infection risk from SARS-CoV-2 indoors allowing informed decisions concerning indoor environmental control.

8.
Indoor Air ; 31(2): 314-323, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-796060

ABSTRACT

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, an outbreak occurred following attendance of a symptomatic index case at a weekly rehearsal on 10 March of the Skagit Valley Chorale (SVC). After that rehearsal, 53 members of the SVC among 61 in attendance were confirmed or strongly suspected to have contracted COVID-19 and two died. Transmission by the aerosol route is likely; it appears unlikely that either fomite or ballistic droplet transmission could explain a substantial fraction of the cases. It is vital to identify features of cases such as this to better understand the factors that promote superspreading events. Based on a conditional assumption that transmission during this outbreak was dominated by inhalation of respiratory aerosol generated by one index case, we use the available evidence to infer the emission rate of aerosol infectious quanta. We explore how the risk of infection would vary with several influential factors: ventilation rate, duration of event, and deposition onto surfaces. The results indicate a best-estimate emission rate of 970 ± 390 quanta/h. Infection risk would be reduced by a factor of two by increasing the aerosol loss rate to 5 h-1 and shortening the event duration from 2.5 to 1 h.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Singing , Ventilation/methods , Fomites/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Washington/epidemiology
9.
Environ Int ; 142: 105832, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-381748

ABSTRACT

During the rapid rise in COVID-19 illnesses and deaths globally, and notwithstanding recommended precautions, questions are voiced about routes of transmission for this pandemic disease. Inhaling small airborne droplets is probable as a third route of infection, in addition to more widely recognized transmission via larger respiratory droplets and direct contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces. While uncertainties remain regarding the relative contributions of the different transmission pathways, we argue that existing evidence is sufficiently strong to warrant engineering controls targeting airborne transmission as part of an overall strategy to limit infection risk indoors. Appropriate building engineering controls include sufficient and effective ventilation, possibly enhanced by particle filtration and air disinfection, avoiding air recirculation and avoiding overcrowding. Often, such measures can be easily implemented and without much cost, but if only they are recognised as significant in contributing to infection control goals. We believe that the use of engineering controls in public buildings, including hospitals, shops, offices, schools, kindergartens, libraries, restaurants, cruise ships, elevators, conference rooms or public transport, in parallel with effective application of other controls (including isolation and quarantine, social distancing and hand hygiene), would be an additional important measure globally to reduce the likelihood of transmission and thereby protect healthcare workers, patients and the general public.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Aerosols , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Crowding , Disinfection/instrumentation , Filtration , Humans , Inhalation Exposure , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilation
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