Air pollutants
12 June 2020
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Health impacts
Population exposure
Publications and Scientific Resources

A first review to explore the association of air pollution (PM and NO2) on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

This review of the main scientific studies conducted on SARS-Cov-2 since the beginning of the epidemic aims to highlight the preliminary conclusions obtained on the links between air pollution and the spread of the virus.

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the global epidemic that began in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. Since then, the scientific community has been working to understand the risk factors associated with SARS-Cov-2 in order to increase their knowledge of this virus at the epidemiological level. 


The authors provide an overview of the first epidemiological studies on the association between air pollution and SARS-CoV-2. Through this review of the studies conducted to date, the scientists investigate the hypothesis that air pollution, resulting from a combination of various factors (meteorological data, level of industrialization, regional topography, etc.), can act both as a vector of infection and as a harmful factor for the health consequences of COVID-19.


Although the comparison of these studies with one another is limited, in particular because of the geographical divergence of the case studies, their results seem to be consistent. They highlight the important contribution of PM2.5 and NO2 to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and, to a lesser extent, PM10 as well. More studies are now needed to support more precise conclusions.


Authors: Chiara Copat, Antonio Cristaldi, Maria Fiore, Alfina Grasso, Pietro Zuccarello, Gea Oliveri Conti , Salvatore Santo Signorelli, Margherita Ferrante - University of Catania