On the Optimal Indoor Air Conditions for SARS-CoV-2 Inactivation. An Enthalpy-Based Approach

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 21;17(17):6083. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176083.


In the CoViD-19 pandemic, the precautionary approach suggests that all possible measures should be established and implemented to avoid contagion, including through aerosols. For indoor spaces, the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 could be mitigated not only via air changes, but also by heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems maintaining thermodynamic conditions possibly adverse to the virus. However, data available in literature on virus survival were never treated aiming to this. In fact, based on comparisons in terms of specific enthalpy, a domain of indoor comfort conditions between 50 and 60 kJ/kg is found to comply with this objective, and an easy-to-use relationship for setting viable pairs of humidity and temperature using a proper HVAC plant is proposed. If confirmed via further investigations on this research path, these findings could open interesting scenarios on the use of indoor spaces during the pandemic.

Keywords: CoViD-19 pandemic; HVAC systems setting; SARS-CoV-2; indoor air quality; specific enthalpy of moist air.

MeSH terms

  • Air Conditioning*
  • Betacoronavirus / physiology*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Heating*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Temperature
  • Thermodynamics*
  • Ventilation*