Corona: New web application Aerosol Control calculates risk of infection


Aerosols are not visible to the naked eye. However, with the help of simulation models, the dispersion paths of the small particles can be reconstructed. The web application Aerosol Control calculates the individual risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 by taking various factors into account. The results of a research project served as a basis: Simulation software that normally calculates the dispersion of aerosols or gases in nuclear power plants was used to calculate the dispersion and concentration of SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in rooms.

In the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic, it has become clear that aerosols contaminated with coronaviruses are one of the main causes of infections. Research suggests that this form of infection is one of the main reasons why people become infected predominantly indoors, namely through infected people exhaling virus-laden aerosols that then accumulate in indoor air. To successfully contain the pandemic, the population should be sensitised to the danger indoors. To this end, it is important to understand as clearly as possible how potentially infectious aerosols are formed and how they spread and change under different conditions in order to ultimately derive measures that can prevent new infections as effectively as possible. 

How high is my risk of infection?

Surface of the web applicationWith Aerosol Control, GRS has developed a web application that calculates the risk of an infection with SARS-CoV-2 in a room. To do this, users must first describe the room in question. The web application then takes into account various factors that influence the occurrence of infection, such as the virus variant (wild type or B.1.1.7), the number of people in the room, the duration of stay, and whether - and if so - what kind of mask (medical, FFP2 or FFP3) is worn. 

The infection risks can be calculated for various predefined rooms, including the interior of a car, train, plane, or classroom. In addition, users can define rooms themselves. Adjustable parameters are the room volume and the ventilation (windows closed, tilted, open, or strong airflow).

Each situation a unique scenario

The web application is based on the findings from the AeroCoV research project in which a team applied simulation software from nuclear technology to calculate the dispersion of SARS-CoV-2 aerosols. Originally, the GRS software COCOSYS was developed to calculate, among other things, the dispersion of radioactive substances in the form of aerosols in nuclear power plants. The project results formed the basis for the development of Aerosol Control. 

If the relevant input variables are entered into the web application, the result output is the respective risk of infection by corona aerosols. "The web application gives users a better understanding of which factors have a particularly large influence on the risk of infection," says Holger Seher, member of GRS's AppLab.

Aerosol Control is now available on the GRS website. All personal data are stored exclusively on the users' terminal devices. The web application does not access other user data or forward such data to third parties.