RIVM and UMC Groningen will be measuring how the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreads in an indoor space. The study will also look at how far the virus can spread and whether the virus particles are still contagious over longer distances. 

International research shows that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can, in certain situations, be transmitted through the air over longer distances than 1.5 metres. In this study, researchers will be looking at whether the virus can in fact be transported over longer distances via smaller droplets (aerosols), and whether the virus particles could still infect someone after travelling that distance. This will be done by performing air measurements in the vicinity of a person who currently has the virus. 

Who can take part? 

RIVM is seeking people who would like to take part in this study. This involves people who are at least 18 years old and have recently tested positive for COVID-19. For research purposes, it is also important that they have had symptoms for no more than three days when they were tested for COVID-19. This is because the viral load (the number of virus particles in the body) decreases after a few days. This means that people who already had symptoms for more than three days when they were tested cannot take part in the study. The air measurements will take place one day after the positive test result.  

Study participants will receive a cost reimbursement for their participation in the study.  

Measures in place for responsible research

People who test positive for COVID-19 normally start self-isolating right away, staying at home and avoiding contact with other people. An exception has been provided for people taking part in this scientific study. During their isolation period, they may only leave their home to take part in this study. A number of rules have been put in place to minimise the risk of infection. It is important that participants can come to the test site operated by the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) in Hoogezand (Groningen) independently on the day after the test result. Come alone, and do not travel by public transport. Wear a face mask at the test site. Also comply with all the other measures, such as distancing and washing or disinfecting hands. Go directly from your home to the test site, and go directly back to your home after taking part in the study. If you cannot travel to the test location independently, you cannot take part.

How does the study work? 

Prior to the measurements for the study, a cotton swab is used to take a mucus sample from the participants’ nose and throat. In test rooms, participants read aloud from a book for about 30 minutes, and spend 15 minutes singing along to music. The air from their exhalations is captured in special equipment that is used to take air samples. Any droplets that fall onto the surfaces in the room are collected. Noise levels (in decibels), air humidity and other local factors are also measured. Afterwards, the samples are examined in a laboratory. 


RIVM will publish the research results via the website. 


You can sign up for the study by sending an email, SMS or WhatsApp message to Mariëtte Lokate, UMCG Groningen, m.lokate@umcg.nl, phone: 06-52 72 40 57