We review concepts involved in describing the chemodynamic features of nanoparticles and apply the framework to gain physicochemical insights into interactions between SARS-CoV-2 virions and airborne particulate matter (PM). Our analysis is highly pertinent given that the World Health Organisation acknowledges that SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted by respiratory droplets, and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recognises that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur. In our theoretical treatment, the virion is assimilated to a core-shell nanoparticle, and contributions of various interaction energies to the virion-PM association (electrostatic, hydrophobic, London-van der Waals, etc.) are generically included. We review the limited available literature on the physicochemical features of the SARS-CoV-2 virion and identify knowledge gaps. Despite the lack of quantitative data, our conceptual framework qualitatively predicts that virion-PM entities are largely able to maintain equilibrium on the timescale of their diffusion towards the host cell surface. Comparison of the relevant mass transport coefficients reveals that virion biointernalization demand by alveolar host cells may be greater than the diffusive supply. Under such conditions both the free and PM-sorbed virions may contribute to the transmitted dose. This result points to the potential for PM to serve as a shuttle for delivery of virions to host cell targets. Thus, our critical review reveals that the chemodynamics of virion-PM interactions may play a crucial role in the transmission of COVID-19, and provides a sound basis for explaining reported correlations between episodes of air pollution and outbreaks of COVID-19.
- Nanoparticle reactivity
- Virion-particle sorption