Studying Ventilation, Filtration, and Humidity's Impact on COVID-19

COVID Research Lab

In the Spring of 2021, Architecture Professor Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg and several of his staff and students conducted a study on viral particles and how they move from our bodies through the air and onto surfaces. 11 COVID-infected students were invited to partake in the study, being instructed to sit still, move around, talk and cough. The study measured how ventilation, filtration, and humidity affected the particles produced by these students. The study showed each strategy had a measurable impact.

Increasing filtration and ventilation significantly decreased the viral load. Higher humidity also decreased the viral load and left particles on surfaces, decreasing the likelihood of spreading COVID-19. The study found that about 50% humidity was the optimal amount, as it takes particles out of the air without growing mold. Lead author Hooman Parhizkar explains that while ventilation and humidity are important in reducing viral loads, these may counteract each other in certain settings. Finding a good mix of the two is most effective in fighting COVID-19.

Read the full story in the articles "Ventilation, humidity are key to limiting virus spread, study says" and "Who Knew? UO study finds mid-range humidity removes viral particles indoors"