US Defense Study Finds Low Risk of Coronavirus Exposure on A
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The risk of exposure to the coronavirus on flights is very low, a U.S. Department of Defense study released on 15th October found, a positive sign for the airline industry as it tries to rebound from the pandemic's crushing effect on travel.

Using fluorescent aerosol tracers between 1-3 µm and real time optical sensors, coupled with DNA-tagged tracers to measure aerosol deposition, the researchers completed the largest aircraft aerosol experimental validation testing to date, with 8 days of testing involving both inflight and ground tests on Boeing 777-200 and 767-300 airframes.

Tracer aerosols were released from a simulated infected passenger, in multiple rows and seats, to determine their risk of exposure and penetration into breathing zones of nearby seats. Penetration into the breathing zones of passengers seated in the same row and in numerous rows in front and back of the source were measured.

Over 300 aerosol release tests were performed repeatedly releasing 180,000,000 fluorescent tracer particles from the aerosol source, with 40+ Instantaneous Biological Analyzer and Collector (IBAC) sensors placed in passenger breathing zones for real-time measurement of simulated virus particle penetration. In total, more than 11,500 breathing zone seat measurements were taken with releases in 46 seats of the airframes.

The study, showed that masks helped minimize exposure to infection when someone coughed, even in neighboring seats. About 99.99% of particles were filtered out of the cabin within six minutes due to fast air circulation, downward air ventilation and the filtration systems on the aircraft.

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