WP1 - Infectivity of airborne pathogens in droplets

At the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it was assumed that the Coronavirus could spread only via large droplets that fall down within 1.5 meters. National and international guidelines, generated mostly by medical professionals, advised to keep 1.5 meters distance between people. However, during the pandemic, it was assumed that 1.5 meters was probably not enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Research, including our own, showed that the virus could spread over a distance of more than 2 meters. It might not only be true for SARS-CoV-2 that aerosols contain the infective viruses, but also for other respiratory viruses. For future pandemics with respiratory viruses, it is key to understand better the role of aerosols in the spread of viruses. In work package 1, we will investigate determinants that could influence the spread of various respiratory viruses through aerosols. Furthermore, it is not clear which concentration of virus in aerosols is necessary to cause an infection. A proof of principle will be performed to estimate the required concentration of various viruses to cause infections.

During the pandemic, a lot of debate was going on the use of facemasks. Although it is clear that the use of facemasks in specific cases is important, debate on the type of facemasks is still going on. In work package one, a study will be performed on the fit and filtration of facemasks in various circumstances.