Making Australia resilient to airborne infection transmission

Our Project

The COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving with daily new cases increasing globally as many regions experience another wave. Still more questions than answers remain to the many aspects of the pandemic. One important question that has emerged is: How can we minimize the risk of airborne infection transmission for any respiratory viruses in a countless number of congregate settings, (e.g., offices, schools, factories, residential aged care, cruise ships, etc.), where most of the population spends a substantial fraction of the day; working, studying, travelling, enjoying entertainment, resting and/or undergoing medical care as part of their daily lives? This question goes far beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic: every year acute respiratory illnesses, such as colds and influenza, cause an estimated 18 billion upper airway infections and 340 million lower respiratory infections, resulting in more than 2.7 million deaths and economic loses of billions of dollars. So far, no science-based guidelines exist based on:

  1. Quantitative knowledge of virus-laden aerosols from human expiration.
  2. Exposure and infection risk models.
  3. The intersection of this risk with typical indoor parameters of buildings and transport options.

The aim of the proposed project is to expand scientific knowledge and develop practical tools to improve the resilience of Australian indoor environments against airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. A multidisciplinary international team of collaborators has been brought together for this project, with scientific and professional expertise in aerosol science, virology, respiratory medicine, infectious diseases, epidemiology, modelling, engineering and management of public buildings, occupational hygiene, social science and shared critical facilities such as transport. The team will build on the foundations their members have established over the years in their respective areas of expertise using interdisciplinary approaches to airborne infection transmission.

Our Team  

Project Leader

QUT Project Team

Domestic Investigators

  • Scott Bell, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, UQ
  • Laurie Buys, UQ
  • Patrick Chambers, Stantec
  • Shaun Clough, Arts Qld
  • Stephen Corbett, Westmead Hospital
  • Charles de Puthod, INF Associates
  • Neil Durant, Geosyntec
  • Keith Grimwood, Griffith University
  • Heather Kelley, Gondwana Choirs
  • Travis Kline, Geosyntec
  • Guy Marks, UNSW
  • Peter McGarry, UQ
  • Ross Mensforth, Queensland TMR
  • Clive Paige, Queensland Health
  • John Penny, Viscon Systems
  • Brad Prezant, VA Sciences
  • Um Rajappa, Queensland Health
  • Claire Wainwright, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and
    Health Service, UQ
  • David Ward, Queensland Health

International Investigators

  • Giorgio Buonanno, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy
  • Mark Jermy, University of Canterbury, NZ
  • Jose Jimenez, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
  • Linsey Marr, Virginia Tech, USA
  • Alexander Mikszewski, City University of New York, US

Funding / Grants

  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects Grant LP200301123 (2022 - 2025)

Partners