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Research > Briefing - Ventilation

Research briefing: Ventilation

07 July 2022

This research briefing, prepared by researchers at Battelle, is intended to provide timely information about the latest research on the effects of ventilation on the spread of COVID-19, to libraries, archives, museums (LAMs), and their stakeholders. This is a review of scientific literature published from 1 January 2022 through 27 May 2022, and should be used in conjunction with other timely resources to ensure decision-making in LAMs reflects the latest scientific understanding. Continual re-evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 policies is highly recommended as new scientific discoveries are published. 

Research questions

  • What effects do ventilation and ventilation-based interventions (e.g., heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC)) have on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor environments?


  • One study suggests that adding a supply fan into window openings may provide an easy, cost-effective way to improve ventilation.
  • A model assessing the use of portable air cleaners (PACs) in reducing COVID-19 infection in poorly ventilated scenarios found that placing PACs in the center of a room provides the optimal location for reducing the risk of infection.
  • Several studies examining the use of ultraviolet (UV) technology in minimizing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in enclosed spaces.

Notes for the reader

As you read this briefing, keep in mind a few key points:

  1. The research and information captured in the findings include both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed studies. In the interest of publishing emerging research related to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, publication has been expedited rather than waiting for time-intensive peer review.
  2. The review includes findings for industries, such as health care, that operate under considerably different constraints and risk factors than do libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs). However, it was important to consider a broad range of available research to determine what may be applicable to LAM operations and identify what research gaps exist. The research captured in the review does not represent recommendations or guidance for LAMs.
  3. Additional literature reviews and research briefings are available from REALM.
  4. A helpful resource for those interested in tracking the "known unknowns" about this virus is the DHS Master Question List for COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2).

Download the research briefing