Link between Covid-19 and air pollution study awarded funding

Scientists at London’s Queen Mary University have been given access to a £49,000 funding pot by Barts Charity to analyse the impact of air pollution on human cells grown in a laboratory.

Importantly, the researchers will study a collection of different inhaled pollutants which will include particulates from car exhausts and the London Underground to determine if they increase the likelihood of someone catching Covid-19.

Scientists currently understand that the Covid-19 virus infects cells that contain ACE2, which will give the basis for thought on whether different toxins from air pollution increase ACE2 cells on the surface of the lungs, enabling Covid-19 cells to take effect.

As part of the study, the researchers will investigate therapies which look to reduce the amount of ACE2, in turn reducing the effects of Covid-19, including immune boosting drugs and antioxidants.

Professor Jonathan Grigg from the Queen Mary University of London, said: “The importance of this work is that it aims to show that the association between exposure to increased fossil fuel pollution and increased vulnerability to Covid-19 reported in population studies is biologically plausible.”

To learn more about this study, please visit the Queen Mary University page.

For more information on Air Quality, visit our Air Quality Assessments page.