With Implications for Effective Control Measures
C2i's team including Professor Leo Poon, Professor Malik Peiris, Dr Michael Chan, Dr Kenrie Hui and Dr Alex Chin, just published a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on internal aircraft environment contribution to virus transmission between humans and, and the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on contact surfaces in the aircraft cabin interior.
Abstract Background: The COVID-19 pandemic from 2019 to 2022 devastated many aspects of life and the economy, with the commercial aviation industry being no exception. One of the major concerns during the pandemic was the degree to which the internal aircraft environment contributed to virus transmission between humans and, in particular, the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on contact surfaces in the aircraft cabin interior. Method: In this study, the stability of various major strains of SARS-CoV-2 on interior aircraft surfaces was evaluated using the TCID50 assessment. Results: In contrast to terrestrial materials, SARS-CoV-2 was naturally less stable on common contact points in the aircraft interior, and, over a 4 h time period, there was a 90% reduction in culturable virus. Antiviral and surface coatings were extremely effective at mitigating the persistence of the virus on surfaces; however, their benefit was diminished by regular cleaning and were ineffective after 56 days of regular use and cleaning. Finally, successive strains of SARS-CoV-2 have not evolved to be more resilient to survival on aircraft surfaces. Conclusions: We conclude that the mitigation strategies for SARS-CoV-2 on interior aircraft surfaces are more than sufficient, and epidemiological evidence over the past three years has not found that surface spread is a major route of transmission.