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24 March 2020
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Air Pollution and Respiratory Viral Infection

This article published in the Inhalation Toxicology journal reviews various recent epidemiological and experimental studies that have examined the association between air pollutants and respiratory viral infections, its effects, and potential mechanisms associated with it. 

Numerous epidemiological studies have highlighted a link between air pollution levels and hospital admissions for various health reasons, including a number of respiratory diseases. They have also noted increased morbidity and mortality for patients who are already subject to various respiratory diseases and conditions. This study seeks to understand whether and how exposure to common air pollutants could exacerbate the susceptibility and severity of respiratory viral infections. 
It also examines the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "criteria pollutants", namely nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM), as well as indoor pollutants such as environmental tobacco smoke and biofuel combustion products. 


Although a number of studies indicate associations between exposure to air pollutants and an increased risk of respiratory virus infections, the potential mechanisms for mediating these effects remain largely unexplored. Therefore, further studies, both epidemiological and mechanistic, are needed to better understand how exposure to air pollutants could impact respiratory infections, particularly in populations already at significant risk of morbidity/mortality after respiratory infections.


Authors:  Ciencewicki, J. ; Jaspers, I. (2007) Air Pollution and Respiratory Viral Infection, Inhalation Toxicology,19:14, 1135-1146, DOI: 10.1080/08958370701665434