Predictive and retrospective modelling of airborne infection risk using monitored carbon dioxide

Fan, S 
Jones, RL 
Noakes, CJ 
Linden, PF 

Change log

jats:p The risk of long range, herein ‘airborne', infection needs to be better understood and is especially urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic. We present a method to determine the relative risk of airborne transmission that can be readily deployed with either modelled or monitored COjats:sub2</jats:sub> data and occupancy levels within an indoor space. For spaces regularly, or consistently, occupied by the same group of people, e.g. an open-plan office or a school classroom, we establish protocols to assess the absolute risk of airborne infection of this regular attendance at work or school. We present a methodology to easily calculate the expected number of secondary infections arising from a regular attendee becoming infectious and remaining pre/asymptomatic within these spaces. We demonstrate our model by calculating risks for both a modelled open-plan office and by using monitored data recorded within a small naturally ventilated office. In addition, by inferring ventilation rates from monitored COjats:sub2</jats:sub>, we show that estimates of airborne infection can be accurately reconstructed, thereby offering scope for more informed retrospective modelling should outbreaks occur in spaces where COjats:sub2</jats:sub> is monitored. Well-ventilated spaces appear unlikely to contribute significantly to airborne infection. However, even moderate changes to the conditions within the office, or new variants of the disease, typically result in more troubling predictions. </jats:p>

Publication Date
Online Publication Date
Acceptance Date
Infection modelling, Airborne infection risk, Monitored CO2, COVID-19, Coronavirus SAR-CoV-2
Journal Title
Indoor and Built Environment
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
SAGE Publications
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N010221/1)
EPSRC (EP/W001411/1)
NERC (NE/V002341/1)