The COVID-19 pandemic has stimulated meaningful discussions within the HVAC and healthcare industries about how temperature, humidity and ventilation can affect the survival and spread of hazardous pathogens. Farhad Memarzadeh, PhD, PE with the National Institutes of Health published an extensive review of over 120 papers in ASHRAE, delineating the effects of temperature, humidity and ventilation on the growth, colonization and transmission of viruses.
As temperature and humidity can affect the survival of viruses and other pathogens on surfaces, ventilation rates can affect the spread and infectivity of airborne pathogens. A ventilation system delivering sufficient outside air can help mitigate the spread of infectious particles, whereas a tightly sealed, underventilated building can lead to increased concentrations of pathogens, which can increase human infection rates. Proper control of temperature, humidity and ventilation rates can reduce or eliminate the survival and transmission of pathogens, leading to healthier and safer indoor environments.
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