An updated systematic review on the association between atmospheric particulate matter pollution and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2

Environ Res. 2021 Apr;195:110898. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110898. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


On December 31, 2019, the novel human coronavirus (COVID-19) was emerged in Wuhan city, China, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). There is a much controversial debate about the major pathways of transmission of the virus including airborne route. The present work is a systematic literature review (SR) aimed to assess the association of air pollution especially particulate matter pollution in the transmission and acceleration of the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The systematic literature search was performed to identify the available studies published through October 31, 2020 concerning the transmission of the disease and particulate matter air pollution in four international electronic databases. From the results of the included studies, there are suggestions that atmospheric particulate matter pollution plays a role in the SARS-CoV-2 spread, but the literature has not confirmed that it enhances the transmission although some studies have proposed that atmospheric particulate matter can operate as a virus carrier, promoting its spread. Therefore, although PM concentration alone cannot be effective in spreading the COVID-19 disease, other meteorological and environmental parameters including size of particles in ambient air, weather conditions, wind speed, relative humidity (RH) and temperature are involved. Therefore, it is necessary to consider all influencing parameters to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 disease. More studies are required to strengthen the scientific evidence and support more definitive conclusions.

Keywords: Air pollution; Airborne transmission; Atmospheric particulate matter; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • COVID-19*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cities
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Particulate Matter