Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Researchers Studying SARS CoV-2 Transmission and Risk Mitigation While Flying

Boston, MA (September, 2, 2020– In order to provide evidence-based recommendations on strategies and practices to reduce the public health risks of flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty at  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are conducting research to improve understanding of measures that reduce risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the aviation system.

The Aviation Public Health Initiative (APHI) includes a team of environmental, infectious disease, and social scientists being assembled by Harvard who are studying current aircraft, airline, and airport practices. They are reviewing current research as well as analyses conducted by the industry. The findings will report on opportunities to further reduce risks of disease spread during air travel, based on the latest research on SARS-CoV-2.

The project is led by Leonard Marcus, a leading authority on leadership in times of crisis, and co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

“As we study different aspects of the aviation system, we are identifying steps being taken by airlines, manufacturers, and airport operators that can reduce risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” said Dr. Marcus. “That effort to reduce risks requires a layered approach, including ventilation, mask-wearing, disinfection and how people move through the aviation system. What is unique about this project is that we are engaging directly with major manufacturers, airlines, and airports across the aviation ecosystem to ensure that we develop a comprehensive, science-based approach.”

The APHI is sponsored by a consortium of airline operators, aviation industry manufacturers, and airport operators. The first phase report on aircraft measures will be issued this fall and the second phase report on airport procedures will be issued in the coming months.

For more information contact: Aviation Public Health Initiative, Richard Ades, Media Advisor   Email:  aphi@hsph.harvard.edu