On pollen and airborne virus transmission

Talib Dbouk, Dimitris Drikakis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study investigates how airborne pollen pellets (or grains) can cause severe respiratory-related problems in humans. Given that pollen pellets can capture ribonucleic acid viruses, we show that airborne pollen grains could transport airborne virus particles such as the airborne coronavirus (CoV) disease (COVID-19) or others. We consider the environmental conditions featuring the highest pollen concentration season and conduct computational multiphysics, multiscale modeling and simulations. The investigation concerns a prototype problem comprising the transport of 104 airborne pollen grains dropped from a mature willow tree at a wind speed of . We show how pollen grains can increase the coronavirus (CoV) transmission rate in a group of people, including some infected persons. In the case of high pollen grains concentrations in the air or during pollination in the spring, the social distance of 2 m does not hold as a health safety measure for an outdoor crowd. Thus, the public authorities should revise the social distancing guidelines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number063313
    JournalPhysics of Fluids
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


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