Airborne Transmission Reduction

Understanding and Mitigating Airborne Transmission

Flu Lab grantees are employing inventive methods to advance our understanding of influenza transmission. Projects and teams making important contributions to the field include the multidisciplinary MITIGATE FLU project, the University of Maryland Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker Lab, and the Emory University Center for Transmission of Airborne Pathogens, where efforts are underway to develop a new human infection model of influenza transmission.

We are also supporting measures to make indoor spaces less permissive to airborne infectious disease transmission. We commissioned Freedman Consulting, LLC to examine the indoor air quality field and are pleased to share the results of their analysis. With Flu Lab funding, the Center for Green Schools has multiple efforts underway to promote effective strategies for reducing airborne virus transmission in the high-priority school sector. Researchers at UC Davis are creating an open-source technology solution to optimize ventilation system operation in schools in order to minimize infectious disease transmission, pollutant exposure, and energy consumption. Finally, to add to the suite of tools to clean indoor air, Columbia University researchers are examining the safety of promising far-UVC technology on human skin and eyes.


Flu Lab is focused on the development of influenza vaccines that protect recipients from infection and prevent onward transmission. We support companies and organizations with grants and investments to evaluate promising candidates, many of which include the employment of more predictive and novel preclinical approaches.

Flu Lab’s roots are in influenza vaccine access and uptake. The Shoo the Flu school-located influenza vaccination model, developed and piloted in the Bay Area, resulted in increased influenza vaccination among students, decreased illness-specific school absences, and lower influenza transmission community-wide. We are also pleased to share the work of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative which, through its innovative mega-study approach, has identified high-performing, messaging-based interventions readily available to pharmacies and physician practices that increase influenza vaccination rates in adults.

Photo courtesy of the Vaccines Saves Lives Project

Early Signals And Surveillance

Detection and Diagnosis

Our vision for a new human relationship with seasonal and pandemic influenza includes a robust market of affordable, fast, and accurate tools that can be readily used by individuals and health care providers to diagnose infection, inform influenza treatment decisions, and mitigate onward transmission.

With Flu Lab funding, the Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab built a real-time, smartwatch-based alerting system that detects signals associated with the onset of early infection. This system can predict the onset of illness, including COVID-19, before symptoms, which provides actionable information to users.

In addition to our investment in Detect’s point of need molecular testing platform, Flu Lab is also pleased to support multiple efforts to develop new diagnostic technologies that can operate closer to patients, at rapid speed and lower cost. For example, Pictura Bio is building a fundamentally new way of identifying all infectious agents with digital imaging-based identification, Washington University is pursuing non-invasive breath-based diagnostics, and the University of Maryland is expanding its ultra-sensitive, graphene-based COVID-19 sensor to detect influenza.