Potential effects of airborne particulate matter on spreading, pathophysiology and prognosis of a viral respiratory infection

Publication date: 02/04/2020 – E&P Code: repo.epiprev.it/688
Authors: Simona Re1, Angelo Facchini2

Abstract. Scientific studies show evidence of a correlation between air pollution levels and respiratory diseases, with a possible increase in the morbidity of respiratory viral infections. However, following the outbreak of Covid-19, the possible effects of the PM (particulate matter) concentrations on the susceptability and pollution-mediated effects are not scientifically demonstrated yet.
In order to shed light on this topic, we performed a narrative review of the scientific literature upon the potential effects of PM on spreading, pathophysiology and prognosis of viral respiratory infections related to Covid-19.
We discuss four hypotheses: 1) how can air pollutants affect the prognosis of respiratory infectious diseases; 2) how can the interaction between air pollutants and pathogens increase the infectious potential of respiratory pathogens; 3) how can air pollutants foster the infectious potential of respiratory pathogens by veiculating them; 4) how can air pollutants worsen the respiratory co-infections by increasing antibiotic resistance.

Based on a review of the scientific literature, hypothesis 1 and 2 appear to be more robust. Given the general faucity of evidences, hypothesis 3 could deserve futher investigations. Hypothesis 4 is less solid but may raise some new important questions of global and local health concern.
In general, further data-driven investigation is needed in order to better highlight the possible connections between airborne PM and viral respiratory infections, with the aim to develop effective Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures, and more accurate air quality policies for human health.

Topic: COVID-19

Key words: , , , , ,


Cite as: Simona Re, Angelo Facchini (2020). Potential effects of airborne particulate matter on spreading, pathophysiology and prognosis of a viral respiratory infection. E&P Repository repo.epiprev.it/688


1 Climate Media Centre, Milan, Italy
2 IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca, Italy

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Copyright: Il detentore del copyright per questa pre-stampa è l’autore/finanziatore, che ha concesso a “E&P Repository” una licenza per rendere pubblica in forma permanente questo documento.

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