Wednesday 4 November 2020

What can physics teach us about coronavirus control?

Much of the discussion to date about the novel coronavirus in the pharmaceutical and healthcare facility context has been led from the biological perspective (such as disinfection) or from the engineering perspective (as with HVAC design). There is an emerging role for physics as well, especially in relation to fluid dynamics (the importance relates to aerosols of respiratory droplet transmission being the primary vehicles for the rapid spread and continued circulation of viruses between humans).

To highlight how, three examples are considered by Tim Sandle in a new article for the IVT Network.

Here is an extract:

The optimal conditions to reduce the chance of infection from coronavirus are environments with high temperature and low relative humidity. This is because such environs lead to high evaporation rates of saliva-contaminated droplets, and this is critical for reducing the virus viability. Warmer temperatures, for instance, increase the energy of molecules, causing them to move and vibrate more quickly; whereas drier conditions decrease the droplet side and influence the ability of viruses to attach to surfaces.

The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2020) What can physics teach us about coronavirus control?, IVT Network, at:

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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