Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (XVI)

Pierre Madl This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Clemens Arvay2, Antonietta Gatti3, Livio Giuliani4, Herbert Lettner1 

1 Department of Chemistry and Physics of Materials, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
2 Independent scientist and textbook author in Health Ecology, Vienna and Graz, Austria
3 Nanodiagnostics Laboratory, San Vito (Modena) Italy
4 ECERI (European Cancer and Environment Research Institute), Bruxelles, Belgium and ICEMS (International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety), Venice, Italy

Received: August 28, 2020
Revised: June 9, 2021
Accepted: June 16, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200438  

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Cite this article:

Madl, P., Arvay, C., Gatti, A., Giuliani, L., Lettner, H. (2021). Air Pollution, SARS-CoV-2 and the Wider Implications - An Overview of Recent Events with a Focus on Italy. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200438. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200438


  • Urban air pollution boosting COVID-19 incidents.
  • Medical care capped by savings.
  • High proportion of elderly people with co-morbidities.
  • Implementation of lockdowns on an ad-hoc basis without considering alternatives.
  • Mechanistic medicine fails to recognise that humans are more than just a body infected with SARS-CoV-2.


Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) associated with the novel SARS-CoV-2, infections have spread worldwide. In part-I of our article, we show that the specificity of the speed of increase in COVID-19 cases over northern Italy, one of the most affected regions, strongly correlated with prevailing conditions of ground-level air pollution notably during the colder months of the year. Particularly striking were excessive concentrations of PM10/PM2.5, NO2 and shortfalls within the Italian health-care system, which aggravated the health crisis that followed thereafter. In part-II, we highlight that SARS-CoV-2 is just a tiny contributor in an already overstressed environmental setting that tilted the balance towards a new steady state, which is reflected by an increased viral susceptibility among the residence of the wider Po-Valley then elsewhere. Both the currently opted counter strategies imposed by authorities as well as hasty efforts with regards to the development of vaccines point at a “crisis of perception” rather than a well-designed strategy that includes a wide range of possible options. Therefore, this contribution looks at the missed opportunities in tackling poor urban air quality, at the dynamics of bioaerosol spreading including the associated atmospheric factors, at the challenges ahead when interfering with viral competences in multicellular organisms, the risks associated with poorly tested genetic-based vaccines, the induced neuro-psychological effects as a result of the unilateral measures imposed by authorities, and the likelihood that COVID-like events are becoming a regular phenomenon.

Keywords: Chronic urban air pollution, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Bioaerosol, Vaccination, Psycho-neuro-immunology

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